courtesy of IWM/Wikipedia
courtesy of IWM/Wikipedia

Ok am in the middle of writing 4 things including a piece  on Violette Szabo (if you’ve never heard of her may I suggest the film Carve Her Name With Pride)  A piece of my rough first draft is bellow.

One day in early February 1945 three women were executed at Ravensbrück concentration camp. What makes these three stand out from most other concentration camp deaths is the fact that these women were British Secret Agents. Denise Bloch, Lillian Rolfe and, the hero of this piece, Violette Szabo had been tortured, abused and maltreated before being executed. As these women were operating in civilian clothes behind enemy lines they were not covered by the Geneva Convention.


Violette Szabo was of dual nationality her father a British WWI solider and her mother French. According to R.J. Minney’s book on Violette she was very a tomboy as a child swimming in rivers riding her bike climbing trees and hanging about with her brothers and male cousins. She evidently outstripped her older brother at most outdoor pursuits. When Violette was 14 she left school, and began working as a shop assistant. In June 1939 she had her 18th birthday and was working on a perfume counter in Brixton, no one could have dreamt what the next 5 and a half years would bring for the then Miss Bushell. Violette would join the Women’s Land Army, Work in a munitions factory, and join the ATS before being recruited by SOE in 1943. Alongside this activity her mother asked to bring home a homesick French solider from the Bastille Day parade in London (July 1940).This led her to meet Etienne Szabo a Frenchman of Hungarian descent serving  in 13eme Demi-brigade de la legion etranges (the French Foreign Legion to you and me). After a short courtship, 42 days, Violette and Etienne were married.  Etienne was posted to Africa a week after their Wedding. In the September Violette joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) and was sent to serve on an Anti-Aircraft Battery, but within weeks she discovered that she was pregnant and returned to London. On the 8th June 1942 Tania Szabo was born. Just 4 months later Etienne would be killed in Africa.

And as the say saying goes to be continued…