Australia’s most decorated World War II servicewoman Nancy Wake has died. Wake, known as the White Mouse, died on Sunday in a hospital in London at the age of 98.
As a war hero, Nancy Wake was a pioneering feminist that spoke loudly with words and backed them up with actions. She once said
"I hate wars and violence, but if they come I don’t see why we women should just wave our men a proud goodbye and then knit them balaclavas."
Ms Wake saved thousands of Allied lives by setting up escape routes and sabotaging German installations. Trained as a spy by the British, she led 7000 resistance fighters in D-Day preparations and was on top of the Gestapo’s most wanted list. Tough as nails, Nancy once killed a German sentry with her bare hands. When France was occupied by the Nazis in 1940 she and her French husband Henri Fiocca became active in the resistance movement.
Called the White Mouse by the Germans because of her ability to evade capture, Ms Wake learned at the end of the war that her husband Fiocca was tortured and killed in 1943.
Ms Wake is regarded as a heroine in France which decorated her with its highest military honour, the Legion d’Honneur, as well as three Croix de Guerre and a French Resistance Medal.
She was also awarded Britain’s George Medal and the US Medal of Freedom.
She was made a Companion of the Order of Australia in 2004.
Women like Ms Wake should be an inspiration to us all.