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'I volunteered … not because I'm brave … being a woman I was the only one who could do it. When I got back … I couldn't stand up, I couldn't sit down. I couldn't do anything. I just cried.'

Nancy Grace Augusta Wakewas born on the 30th of August, 1912 in Wellington, New Zealand. Her family moved to Australia when Nancy was only two (1914). Nancy’s father later went back to New Zealand leaving Nancy’s mother to raise their six children. In 1932, Nancy fulfilled her ambitions of travelling to Europe as a journalist after an aunt in New Zealand gave her some money. She then went to Vienna to interview Adolf Hitler in 1933. There she saw Jews chained to wheels while being whipped by the Nazis. She decided then to devote herself to defeating the evil she had witnessed.

Nancy Wake was a French Resistance fighter- not suspected by the Nazis. She had escaped to London where she had trained to become a spy. After completing her training, her job was to supply the French Resistance fighters with weapons and establish communication with bases in England. Nancy Wake says that as a woman, it was easier for her to get through or evade the Nazi’s checkpoints and to work unnoticed by them. The Nazis’ codename for her was the ‘White Mouse’ for her talent and by 1943; she was the Gestapo’s most wanted person with a 5 million price in reward for her capture. Nancy’s life was constantly in danger and so the Resistance had to be very careful with her missions as the Gestapo was tapping her phone and searching her mail. Nancy also went on to lead 7,000 Resistance fighters and lead a raid against the headquarters of the Gestapo in Mountucon. One of her comrades in the Resistance said; “She is the most feminine woman I know, until the fighting starts. Then she is like five men.” Nancy is also reputed by her killing of a German girl spy that her men (comrades) were protecting. The men apparently did not have the heart to kill her but Nancy did and she concluded that it was a war and she had no regrets about what she did.

The consequences for Nancy if she were caught would’ve been immediate death as she had a massive price on her head. Her husband Henry Fiocca was captured by the Gestapo and shot so Nancy would’ve probably been tortured extremely or killed.

Nancy was not found out during the war. After it ended however, she worked for the British Air Ministry, became a Liberal candidate in 1945 to 1951, remarried in London and then relocated to Australia. But after the death of her second husband, she returned to London and sold her war medals. Her last request was; “My only condition is when I die, I want my ashes scattered over the hills where I fought alongside all those men."

Nancy Wake died on 7th August, 2011.

http://www.civicsandcitizenship.edu.au/cce/default.asp?id=17565
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nancy_Wake
http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/SOEwake.htm