BRITISH WW2 FEMALE SOE (SPECIAL OPERATIONS EXECUTIVE ) SECRET AGENT AND HEROINE VIOLETTE SZABO, GEORGE CROSS,M.B.E, CROIX de GUERRE, MEDAILLE DE LA RESISTANCE – 1921-1945

HERE AT THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL WE FEATURE THE  BRITISH SECRET AGENT – VIOLETTE SZABO, ALONG WITH OTHER SOE HERO’S AND HEROINES, SAS (SPECIAL AIR SERVICE) AND  OTHER  UK SPECIAL FORCES.

 NOT FORGETTING OF COURSE OUR WW2 NAZI HOLOCAUST EXHIBITION FOR WHICH WE FEATURE AND INCLUDE MANY OF THE ABOVE WHO HAD BEEN  CAPTURED, TORTURED AND SUBSEQUENTLY EXECUTED BY THE NAZI’S DURING THIS HORRIFIC PERIOD.

WE ALSO HAVE A NUMBER OF PERSONALLY SIGNED EXHIBIT ITEMS KINDLY DONATED TO THE MUSEUM AND ON DISPLAY FROM VIOLETTE SZABO’S DAUGHTER – TANIA WHO HAS CARRIED ON THE LEGACY OF HER MOTHER SINCE HER DEATH IN 1945 .

BELOW ARE A FEW  PICTURES TAKEN AT  A RECENT GET-TOGETHER AND CATCH-UP WITH TANIA  , DAUGHTER OF  WW2 S.O.E. ( SPECIAL OPERATIONS EXECUTIVE )  HEROINE – VIOLETTE SZABO … PARTICULARLY SPECIAL WHEREBY SHE KINDLY BROUGHT ALONG AS A SURPRISE , HER MOTHERS GEORGE MEDAL , CROIX DE GUERRE AND THE MEDAILLE DE LA RESISTANCE  FOR WHICH TANIA HAD RECEIVED POSTHUMOUSLY AS A YOUNG CHILD. A GREAT PRIVILEGE TO HAVE SEEN AND HELD SUCH A HISTORICALLY IMPORTANT PIECE OF HISTORY . 

 

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ANDY JONES WITH VIRGINIA McKENNA   AT A RECENT VIOLETTE SZABO MEMORIAL EVENT AT THE VIOLETTE SZABO MUSEUM , WORMELOW IN 2014

ANDY JONES WITH VIRGINIA McKENNA AT A RECENT VIOLETTE SZABO MEMORIAL EVENT AT THE VIOLETTE SZABO MUSEUM , WORMELOW IN 2014

Below is a signed image of Tania Szabo wearing the medals she received posthumously for and behalf of her mother Violette now on display at the Crime Through Time Collection 

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HERE AT THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION , LITTLEDEAN JAIL, FOREST OF DEAN, GLOUCESTERSHIRE, UK ….. WE FEATURE MANY OF THE UK’S SPECIAL FORCES INCLUDING PERSONAL TESTAMENTS TO MANY OF OUR HEROINES INCLUDING SOE VIOLETTE SZABO WHO WAS CAPTURED , TORTURED AND  MURDERED BY THE NAZI’S AT RAVENSBRUCK CONCENTRATION CAMP IN 1945 (AGED 23)

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Violette Szabo

NicknameLouise (also: La P’tite Anglaise)Born26 June 1921
ParisFranceDied5 February 1945 (aged 23)
RavensbrückNazi GermanyAllegianceUnited KingdomFranceService/branchSpecial Operations Executive,
First Aid Nursing YeomanryYears of service1941-1945 (FANY) /
1942/43-1945 (SOE)RankEnsignUnitF SectionAwardsUK George Cross ribbon.svg  George Cross  
Croix de Guerre 1939-1945 ribbon.svg   Croix de Guerre
Medaille de la Resistance ribbon.svg    Medaille de la Resistance

Violette-Szabo

Violette Szabo was born Violette Reine Elizabeth Bushell in Paris, on 26 June 1921, the second child of a French mother and an English taxi-driver father, who had met during World War I. The family moved to London, and she attended school in Brixton until the age of 14. At the start of World War II, she was working at the perfume counter of Le Bon Marché, a department store in Brixton.

Violette met Étienne Szabo, a French officer of Hungarian descent, at the Bastille Day parade in London in 1940. They married on 21 August 1940 after a whirlwind 42-day romance. Violette was 19, Étienne was 31. Shortly after the birth of their only child, Tania, Étienne died from chest wounds at the Battle of El Alamein in October 1942. He had never seen his daughter. It was Étienne’s death that made Violette, having already joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service in 1941, decide to offer her services to the British Special Operations Executive (SOE).

Below shows Violette with her husband Etienneimages

After an assessment for fluency in French and a series of interviews, she was inducted into SOE. She received intensive training in night and daylight navigation; escape and evasion, both Allied and German weapons, unarmed combat, demolitions, explosives, communications and cryptography. In his book “Das Reich” Max Hastings comments that Szabo was adored by the men and women of SOE both for her courage and endless infectious cockney laughter. An ankle injury during parachute training delayed her deployment until 5 April 1944, when she parachuted into German-occupied France, near Cherbourg.

Under the code name “Louise”, which also happened to be her nickname, she and SOE colleague Philippe Liewer reorganised a Resistance network that had been broken up by the Germans. She led the new group in sabotaging road and railway bridges. Her wireless reports to SOE headquarters on the local factories producing war materials for the Germans were important in establishing Allied bombing targets. She returned to England by Lysander on 30 April 1944, landing at RAF Tempsford, after an intense but successful first mission.

Second mission

She flew to the outskirts of Limoges, France on 7 June 1944 (immediately following D-Day) from RAF Tempsford. Immediately on arrival, she coordinated the activities of the local Maquis (led by Jacques Dufour) in sabotaging communication lines during German attempts to stem the Normandy landings.

She was a passenger in a car that raised the suspicions of German troops at an unexpected roadblock that had been set up to find Sturmbannführer Helmut Kämpfe