Nancy Wake and the rest of her family moved from New Zealand to Sydney, Australia. Her father then abandoned her and her family and moved back to New Zealand.
Becoming a nurse.
In 1928 Nancy Wake ran away from home and became a nurse.
Nancy’s aunt from New Zealand sent her some money. She then travels to London and then Europe where from a base in France she works as a free-lance journalist for Hearst Newspapers.
She has an assignment in Vienna, Austria where she has to interview Hitler but while she’s there she witnesses the impact of the Nazi’s regime first hand.
WW2 Breaks Out
Nancy is in Britain England when WW2 breaks out and she then returns to France where she marries the rich, French industrialist, Henri Fiocca, they then move into a house in Marseilles. Nancy then becomes a part of the war effort by driving a vehicle she used as an ambulance as well as to supply refugee camps.
Allied Escape Route Organisation (AERO)
Nancy becomes increasingly involved in the war effort by taking advantage of her social position as a courier and then she became a member of the Allied Escape Route Organisation (AERO).Once she is a member she helps hundreds of escaped prisoners, political refugees, survivors of the Dunkerque evacuation of allied troops and downed Allied fliers seeking a safe passage out of France and into Spain.
The Gestapo begin to suspect that Nancy was a member of the Resistance movement but are unable to prove that she is was part of the Resistance. The Gestapo gave her a secret code name which is the “white mouse”. The Resistance is betrayed and Nancy is forced into hiding. She then moves back into Britain, England but it takes her six tries to get across the Pyrenees Mountains and into Spain. Once in Britain she joins the French Section of the British Special Operation
Nancy is at the top of the Gestapo most wanted list with a five million franc reward for anybody who can find her.
Nancy finds out that her husband has died in France in 1943. Nancy Wake embarks on a marathon bike ride, cycling about 500 km in 72 hours, she does this so her mission goes to plan and is not inflitrated.
WW2 ends and Nancy receives war medals, she receives the George Medal from Britain (awarded 17 July 1945), the Médaille de la Résistance, Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur (awarded 1988) and three Croix de Guerre (two with bronze palms and one with a silver star) from France, and the Medal of Freedom (with a bronze palm) from the US, making her the most decorated servicewoman of the Second World War.
Nancy becomes an executive officer in the British Foreign Office attached to the embassies in Paris and Prague.
Nancy resigns from her job in England and moves back to Sydney, Australia.
She can’t find any work in Sydney so she moves back to Britain and becomes the Women's Royal Air Force (WRAF) officer in the Department of the Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Intelligence) of the British Air Ministry.
Nancy marries John Forward and then they both move to Malta which is were John Forward is working.
Nancy and her husband move back to Australia where they live in Port Macquarie on the north coast of New South Wales.
Nancy Wake publishes her first autobiography called 'The Autobiography of the Woman the Gestapo called the White Mouse.'
Her husband John Foward dies.
Nancy moves to London where she lives in the Stratford Hotel living off the money she received when she sold her medals. Once that money had run out she was financially assisted by her admirers.
Nancy Wake has a heart attack and survives.
Nancy Wake is appointed Companion of the Order of Australia. She now lives in the Royal Star and Garter Home for ex-servicemen in Richmond, West London.