Friday, August 26, 2011

Nancy Wake

The Awesome Woman today is Nancy Wake.  She died recently at the age of 98, and live a life which sounds more like a novel than reality.  She was the youngest of six children, born in New Zealand and raised in Australia; her father abandoned the family and her mother raised the children on her own.

Nancy ran away from home at 16 and worked as a nurse, eventually making her way to new York and London.  She married a French nobleman who was a resistance fighter and for a short while lived a life of luxury.  When the Germans invaded, her husband was captured. Prior to that she was active in the resistance and had helped many fighters escape the Nazis.

She became a spy for the resistance and led an 'army' of 7000, in fighting the Germans. She was able to evade capture and sometimes flirt her way to escape as the Gemans could not believe someone as beautiful and feminine was so tough. She was known to have strangled an SS agent with her bare hands, and executed a German spy.  She swore and drank with the best (or worst) of them and was number one on the German's most wanted list with a prize of 7 million francs on her head.  She was an expert shot, and led her force against a force of 22000 Germans, causing 1400 casualties while losing only 100.
AT the end of the war, Nancy learned that her husband had been tortured to death for refusing to give up information about her.

After the war she won honors from France, Britain and the U.S.

She remarried in 1957 and moved back to Australia where she was active in local politics running for office for the Liberal party. 

She eventually moved to Britain and ended her days in the Royal Star and Garter home for disabled vets.
When asked how she would like to be remembered she replied that she hopes to go down in history as the woman who turned down 7,000 sex-starved Frenchmen, and said: "I got away with blue murder and loved every minute of it."