Nancy Wake turned 97 yesterday.
I was very critical of the former Government’s refusal to give Wake an honour. Judith Collins did a fine job campaigning for her to be honoured.
I was hoping that she would finally be honoured in the 2009 Queen’s Birthday Honours but she wasn’t. I hope she will be, before she dies.
For those who don’t know why Nancy Wake should be honoured, here’s an extract:
After the fall of France, she became a courier for the French Resistance and later joined the escape network of Captain Ian Garrow. The Gestapo called her the “White Mouse”. The Resistance had to be very careful with her missions as her life was in constant danger and the Gestapo were tapping her phone and intercepting her mail. By 1943, she was the Gestapo’s most-wanted person, with a 5 million-franc price on her head. …
From April 1944 to the complete liberation of France, her 7000 maquisards fought 22,000 SS soldiers, causing 1400 casualties. Her French companions, especially Henri Tardivat, praised her fighting spirit; amply demonstrated when she killed an SS sentry with her bare hands to prevent him raising the alarm during a raid.
Wake has the following honours:
- George Medal
- Companion of the Order of Australia
- US Medal of Freedom with Bronze Palm
- Légion d’honneur (the highest French decoration)
- Croix de guerre
The NZ RSA have also given Wake their gold medal. It would be good to see the NZ Government honour her also.