100 Years Ago Today August 30th, 2012
Nancy Grace Augusta Wake was born on August 30th, 1912 in Wellington New Zealand. She served as a British agent during the later part of World War II. She became a leading figure in the maquis groups of the French Resistance and was one of the Allies' most decorated servicewomen of the war. In the 1930s she worked in Paris and later for Hearst newspapers as a European correspondent. She witnessed the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi movement, and "saw roving Nazi gangs randomly beating Jewish men and women in the streets" of Vienna. After the fall of France in 1940, she became a courier for the French Resistance and later joined an escape network. In reference to her ability to elude capture, the Gestapo called her the White Mouse. She would go to Britain and join the Special Operations Executive (SOE). Immediately after the war, Nancy was awarded the George Medal, the United States Medal of Freedom, the Médaille de la Résistance and thrice the Croix de Guerre. She learned that the Gestapo had tortured her husband to death in 1943 for refusing to disclose her whereabouts. After the war, she worked for the Intelligence Department at the British Air Ministry attached to embassies of Paris and Prague. She died on Sunday evening August 7th 2011 at the age of 98.