“I don’t see why women should just wave our men a proud goodbye and then knit them balaclavas.”
Nancy Wake a.k.a. The White Mouse was the most famous member of the French Underground movement during WWII. A hard-drinking, hard-fighting special agent, saboteur, and resistance commander who survived Gestapo interrogations, saved over 200 downed Allied pilots, blew up German supply depots, jumped from trains, and killed a Nazi with her bare hands before he could raise an alarm. Her incredible actions earned her a hefty five million Franc bounty on her head.
Despite being on the Nazi’s most wanted list, Nancy never left behind the finer things in life. During one battle, the truck she was driving was strafed by German fighter planes. She crawled from the wreck clutching her prized possessions: a jar of face cream, a packet of tea, and a satin cushion.
By the end of the war, she was the most decorated woman of WWII with a collection that included the British George Medal, the American Medal of Freedom, the French Legion d’Honneur, and three (count that, three) Croix de Guerres. Pretty impressive, right? For you and me maybe, but not for the woman who killed a German female spy without a second thought. Nancy sold off her medals and lived off the money for the rest of her life. “There’s no point in keeping them … I’ll probably go to hell and they’d melt anyways.”