FANY Nancy Wake was the most highly decorated woman of the Second World War, and she passed away six years ago this week.
Known to the Gestapo as the White Mouse, Nancy was part of the Special Operations Executive (SOE), where many FANYs worked throughout WWII in communications, . The SOE was formed from the three existing intelligence organisations in July 1940 on Winston Churchill’s orders to ‘set Europe ablaze" with the purpose to organise active resistance to the Germans by any means possible, legal or illegal, gentlemanly or otherwise.
During her work, Nancy undertook a bicycle ride several hundred miles to the Pyrenees from Auvergne through several German check points to get a single radio part - hidden on her to ensure the Gestapo couldn't find it - back to her Maquis unit, where she single-handedly commanded 1,500 men. By 1943, Wake was the Gestapo's most wanted person, with a price of 5 million francs on her head, and immediately after the war, Wake was awarded the George Medal, the United States Medal of Freedom, the Médaille de la Résistance, and the Croix de Guerre three times.
A truly inspirational member of the Corps!
To honour her memory and raise vital funds for the Corps, members organised a cycle ride to retrace the route taken by Nancy Wake during the Second World War, when she covered a distance of 639km in 71 hours. The team raised over £11,500 for the FANY in memory of Nancy and for every woman who served who made the ultimate sacrifice - a truly amazing acheivement.