I was so excited to find the real life inspiration behind The Nightingale. Nancy Wake was the most decorated woman in WW2 and a total badass.
Nancy was a socialite who moved from Australia to New York and then settled down in Paris where she married Henri Fiocca who was as much of a socialite as she was. She also described him as the love of her life.
Nancy, on assignment, went to Germany to cover what they were doing with the Jews. She was so upset over the atrocities that she couldn’t help but get involved. Unfortunately, she didn’t need to look very far for the resistance because in 1940 Germany invaded France.
She started by transporting refugees out of France by ambulance, that she purchased. When that wasn’t enough, she took downed allied troops and Jewish refugees over the at Pyrenees into Spain.
Yeah, imagine hiking over this, with the Gestapo at your heels. Nancy was so proficient in secreting people across the border that she had a code name. The “White Mouse.” However, the Germans started closing in on her. Because of her involvement in the resistance she had to leave Henri, for his own safety.
After several attempts she escaped France for the temporary safety of England. Where she joined the British Special Operation Executive. In April 1944 as an SOE agent she parachuted back into France to prepare the resistance for D-Day.
While preparing for the liberation of France, Nancy biked 70 miles NON STOP through Nazi checkpoints to replace allied codes that had been destroyed. Without these codes desperately needed supplies wouldn’t have made it to Allied forces.
It wasn’t until after France was liberated that she learned of Henri’s fate. After the war Nancy continued to work with the SOE and run for Parliament back in Australia.
To find out more about the awesome woman, take a look at a biography such as Nancy Wake: SOE’s Greatest Heroine