Nancy Wake facts for kids

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Nancy Wake
Wake in the mid-1940s
Nickname Hélène (SOE)
Andrée (French Resistance/SOE Identity)
White Mouse (Gestapo in France)
Born (1912-08-30)30 August 1912
Wellington, New Zealand
Died 7 August 2011(2011-08-07) (aged 98)
London, England
Allegiance France
United Kingdom
Service/branch Special Operations Executive
First Aid Nursing Yeomanry
Years of service 1943–1945 (SOE)
Rank Captain
Unit Freelance
Battles/wars Second World War
Awards Companion of the Order of Australia
George Medal
Officer of the Legion of Honour (France)
Croix de guerre (France)
Medal of Freedom (United States)
RSA Badge in Gold (New Zealand)

Nancy Grace Augusta Wake (30 August 1912 – 7 August 2011) known as the "White Mouse", was an Australian who worked as a spy for the British in World War II. At one time she was on the top of the Gestapo's most wanted list. A novel by Sebastian Faulks based on her life called Charlotte Gray, was later made into a movie starring Cate Blanchett.

Wake was born in Wellington, New Zealand in 1911, and moved to Australia when she was two. She ran away from home at the age of 16, and in 1935 went to London. She learned to be a journalist and worked in Paris. She married a rich factory owner, Henry Fioca in 1939. When the war started she became an ambulance driver. She soon became a part of a group led by Pat O'Leary (real name Albert Guérisse) which helped British soldiers escape from France. The Gestapo soon noticed her activities and she fled to Spain. Her husband was captured, tortured and shot dead.

In England she joined the Special Operation Executive (SOE). In April 1944, Wake was parachuted into France to work with the French Resistance before the D-Day landings. She was involved in several major battles with the German army. She is known to have killed an SS soldier with her bare hands.

She was given several important medals for bravery including the British George Medal, the French Croix de Guerre (on three occasions), the Médaille de la Résistance and she was made a Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur. The Americans gave her the Medal of Freedom. In 2004 Australia made her a Companion of the Order of Australia.


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