Women who served in WWII - Obituaries and short biographies

Discussion in 'The Women of WW2' started by dbf, Jun 9, 2008.

  1. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    A link for obituaries of some very brave women:


    Irena Sendler
    Social worker who saved the lives of many hundreds of Jewish children by smuggling them out of the Warsaw ghetto

    Pearl Witherington
    SOE officer whose leadership of French Resistance fighters was a thorn in the side of the Germans before and after D-Day

    Odette Hallowes
    Resistance heroine who survived wartime torture to become a beacon of healing

    Lise Villameur
    Special agent who risked her life running her own operation in wartime France, but was denied a gallantry award

    Yvonne Cormeau
    Undercover wireless operator who kept the lines of communication between London and the French resistance

    Elizabeth Choy
    Teacher who survived maltreatment at the hands of the Japanese to become the first principal of Singapore's School for the Blind

    Irene Gut Opdyke
    Polish heroine who saved many Jews from the gas chambers at the risk of her own life

    Lucie Aubrac
    French Resistance heroine who plucked her husband from the grasp of Klaus Barbie and the Gestapo in Lyons

    Antonia Bruha
    Survivor of Nazi oppression who devoted her postwar years to documenting Austrian resistance

    Janet Adams
    Heroic Red Cross nurse who served for a quarter of a century amid wars and disasters all over the world

    Sister Florence
    Nurse who manned a casualty station during the Blitz and surprised herself at 40 by becoming an Anglican missionary in Calcutta

    Betty Jeffrey
    Nurse who bravely ministered to the victims of war throughout the Far East
    BarbaraWT likes this.
  2. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek

    Indeed. So very brave.
    People who fought in various ways and made a difference.
    Thanks dbf.
  3. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    From The Telegraph these obits:

    Countess Andrée de Jongh
    Founded and organised the Comet Escape Line, the route from Belgium through France to Spain used by hundreds of Allied airmen to escape from Nazi-occupied Europe.

    Peggy Langley
    Member of the "Comet Line" which during the Second World War saved hundreds of Allied airmen from capture and organised their escape from France and Belgium.

    A bit more info

  4. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    These women were heroes indeed. Nice link DBF!
  5. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    “It was here in the narrow passageway that prisoners in Ravensbrück were murdered by a shot in the neck as they were forced to walk through. One of the victims was S.O.E. agent Violette Szabo.”
    George Duncan's Historical Facts of WWII

    Violette Szabo
    “After torture and interrogation in which she gave nothing away, she was sent to Ravensbrück concentration camp where she was eventually shot through the back of the neck with two other women SOE agents, Lillian Rolfe and Denise Bloch. Another French section agent, Odette Hallowes, was in the camp with them and gave details to the authorities at the close of the war. Violette was 23 years old when she was executed.”

    Noor Inayat Khan
    “Noor Inayat Khan was the great-great-grandaughter of the legendary Tipu Sultan, the 18th century Muslim ruler who died in the struggle to stem the British conquest of Southern India. Her father was a leader of the Sufti mystic community. Her mother was an American related to Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science.”

    Lilian Rolfe
    “She was arrested on 31st July 1944 and sent to Fresnes Prison, Sometime around the 8th August 1944 she was deported to Ravensbrück concentration camp. In January 1945 she was executed by a shot through the back of the neck. Lilian was 30 years old when she was executed.”

    Denise Bloch
    “Bloch was arrested on 19 June 1944. She was imprisoned in Ravensbrück, Torgau and Konisberg where she suffered great hardship from exposure and cold. She was returned to Ravensbrück where she was shot in January 1945 aged 29.”

    Cecily Margot Lefort
    “In 1941, Lefort joined the WAAF. The following year, as someone fluent in the French language, she volunteered to serve with the F Section (France) of the SOE based in London. On the night of June 16, 1943, together with fellow SOE agents Diana Rowden and Noor Inayat Khan, she was flown to Le Mans in France where they were met by Henri Dericourt. Trained as a courier, once there she was sent to south eastern France where she worked for the "Jockey" network run by Francis Cammaerts.”

    Diana Rowden
    “She first came to the attention of the Special Operations Executive when Harry Sporborg,, a senior SOE staff member, saw her file and requested that she be appointed his secretary. Having already joined the WAAF, she began military training instead. Some months later, she happened to meet Squadron Leader William Simpson, who worked part-time for SOE and with whom she discussed her desire to return to France and take part in resistance work.”

    Sonya Olschanezky
    “In 1943 she joined the Prosper Network that included Andreé Borrel, Francis Suttill and Gilbert Norman. The network was betrayed and most of its leading members were arrested. However, Olschanezky remained free until being captured in January 1944 and after being interrogated by the Gestap she was imprisoned at Fresnes.”

    Yolande Beekman
    “At the end of the War, Yolande Beekman's heroic actions were recognized by the government of France with the posthumous awarding of the Croix de Guerre. In addition, she is recorded on the Runnymede Memorial in Surrey, England and as one of the SOE agents who died for the liberation of France, she is listed on the "Roll of Honor" on the Valençay SOE Memorial in the town of Valençay, in the Indre département of France.”

    Muriel Byck
    “She was recruited into the SOE in July 1943 because of her excellent French and began initial training in September 1943 at Winterfold, Cranleigh, in Surrey. From here she proceeded to para-military training at Meoble Lodge, Morar, Invernesshire until October and w/t training at Thame Park, Oxfordshire in November/December 1943.”

    Vera Leigh
    “When Paris fell in June 1940 she joined the exodus south from the city as far as Lyon, where she joined one of the underground escape lines rescuing downed Allied pilots and servicemen who had been left behind at Dunkirk and guiding them out of the country.”

    Eliane Plewman
    “At the outbreak of the war Eliane worked for the British embassies in Madrid and Lisbon. In 1942 she returned to England to work in the Ministry of Information and also married a British Army officer. Shortly afterwards she joined the Special Operations Executive.”

    Madeleine Damerment
    “After being held at Karlsruhe civil prison Madeleine was transferred to Dachau on 10th September 1944 with Elaine Plewman, Yolande Beekman and Noor Inayat Khan. At dawn the next day the girls were taken out and, holding hands in pairs, were executed by a single shot through the back of the neck. Madeleine was 26 years old.”

    Sonia Butt
    “Sonya Butt [now Sonya "Tony" D'Artois] was also a WAAF who became a FANY, and with the codename 'Blanche'she parachuted in to France in May 28th 1944 to be part of Circuit 'Headmaster'.”

    Yvonne Rudellat
    “She joined S.O.E. on 28 May 1942. She enlisted in the FANY and after training, left the UK for Gibraltar on 17 July and was infiltrated into Southern France by boat on 30 July 1942, in order to join the Prosper Circuit as a courier. She eventually specialised in organising parachute drops and took part in various sabotage operations, including an important one against Chaigny power station. She was also personally responsible for blowing up two locomotives in the goods station at Le Mans in March 1943.”

    Nancy Wake
    “Nancy Wake was the Allies' most decorated servicewoman of WWII, and the Gestapo's most-wanted person.”
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2017
  6. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Very courageous indeed.
  7. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek

  8. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Thanks, Gage,
    I thought I had her on the list, must have omitted her when copying and pasting. Bad of me.

    "Probably because of a traitor, in June of 1943 several members of the "Prosper" network were arrested by the Gestapo on June 23 1943, including network leader Francis Suttill and Andrée Borrel. She was interrogated in the Gestapo's Parisian headquarters and then held in Fresnes prison.

    She remained there until May of 1944 when, together with three other captured female SOE agents, Vera Leigh, Sonya Olschanezky and Diane Rowden, Borrel was shipped to the Natzweiler-Struthof concentration camp in the Vosges Mountains of Alsace.

    On July 6, 1944, 24-year-old Andrée Borrel and her three compatriots were injected with phenol and incinerated in the camp's crematorium. It is claimed that she regained consciousness before she was placed in the oven and fought to prevent her death. However, she was not successful and was put into the oven alive."
  9. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek

    Amazon.co.uk: Flames in the Field: Story of Four SOE Agents in Occupied France: Rita Kramer: Books
    A great read on the four women. :poppy:
  10. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Corrie Ten Boom
    "Cornelia Johanna Arnolda ten Boom, generally known as Corrie ten Boom was a Dutch Christian Holocaust survivor who helped many Jews escape the Nazis during WWII."

    Martha Wertheimer
    "Helped thousands of Jewish children to escape to England and other European countries during the Kindertransport period of 1938-39"

    Sophie Scholl
    Women of the Third Reich
    "Martyr of the anti-Nazi movement at Munich University where she studied biology and philosophy. Arrested with her brother Hans, a medical student, both were sentenced to death by the People's Court, and on February 22, 1943, twenty-two year old Sophie and her brother Hans were beheaded by the guillotine."
  11. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek

  12. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Thanks for those recommendations Gage, please keep them coming.

  13. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek

  14. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek

  15. rememberthem

    rememberthem ex member

    I dont know where I read it but I am sure I read that Straub was arrested with the scratch marks of Andree Borrels nails on his face still not healed

    Beyond words
  16. BarbaraWT

    BarbaraWT Member

    Hi Dbf, has the Times link changed?
  17. BarbaraWT

    BarbaraWT Member

  18. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    Alan Malcher, a historian, has posted an update on Sonya Butt: At the age of 20 Sonya Butt (Sonya d’Artois) an explosives expert with SOE parachuted into France nine days before D-day to sabotage key targets. It is a pointer to a six minute Youtube clip (not viewed yet).

    Scrolling down there is a six minute film clips featuring Odette Sansom, from NBC (USA) and Noreen Riols, in a sixteen minute interview (no imagery). Noreen has her own, long thread (so short update posted there): Special Agent Seductress - Noreen Riols

    Odette Sansom appears in multiple threads and on a quick look none appears to be the main one.
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2021

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