On This Day
1944 – World War II: British agent Nancy Wake, a leading figure in the French Resistance and the Gestapo’s most wanted person, parachutes back into France to be a liaison between London and the local maquis group.
Nancy Grace Augusta Wake, AC, GM (30 August 1912 – 7 August 2011) was a secret agent during the Second World War. Living in Marseilles with her French industrialist husband when the war broke out, Wake slowly became enmeshed with French efforts against the Germans, and worked to get people out of France. Later she became a leading figure in the maquis groups of the French Resistance and was one of the Allies’ most decorated servicewomen.
After the fall of France in 1940, she became a courier for the French Resistance and later joined the escape network of Captain Ian Garrow. By 1943, Wake was the Gestapo’s most wanted person with a 5-million-franc price on her head. Therefore, it became necessary for her to leave France.
After reaching Britain, Wake joined the Special Operations Executive. On March 1, 1944, she parachuted into occupied France near Auvergne, becoming a liaison between London and the local maquis group headed by Captain Henri Tardivat in the Forest of Tronçais. From April 1944 until the liberation of France, her 7,000+ maquisards fought the Germans in many different ways. At one point, being aware of this large group of Maquis, the Germans sent in 22,000 soldiers to wipe them out. However, due to Wake’s extraordinary organizing abilities, her Maquisards were able to defeat them causing 1,400 German deaths, while suffering only 100 among themselves.  Wake’s Maquisards thus accounted for about 70 % of the about 2,000 Germans killed by the French resistance during the liberation of France, while their fatalities made up only 1 % of the about 8,000 French resistance fighters killed in action. A comparison with other contemporary engagements (e.g. the Normandy landings on 6 June 1944, in which the Allies suffered 10,000+ casualties including 4,414 confirmed dead vs. 4,000 – 9,000 casualties on the German side, or the Battle of Arnhem, in which there were 1,984 British vs. 1,300 – 1,725 German battle deaths) makes Wake’s achievement look even more outstanding. However, there are several sources about Nancy Wake in which this exploit is not mentioned.   
Born On This Day
1858 – Georgia Hopley, American journalist, temperance advocate, and the first woman prohibition agent (d. 1944)
Georgianna Eliza Hopley (1858–1944) was an American journalist, political figure, and temperance advocate. A member of a prominent Ohio publishing family, she was the first woman reporter in Columbus, and editor of several publications. She served as a correspondent and representative at the 1900 Paris Exposition and the 1901 Pan-American Exposition. She was active in state and national politics, serving as vice-president of the Woman’s Republican Club of Ohio and directing publicity for Warren G. Harding’s presidential campaign.
In 1922 Hopley became the first woman prohibition agent of the United States Bureau of Prohibition, where she was involved in education and publicity. She resigned among criticism of the costs of her publicity and the scope of her duties.
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