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 of the Das Reich Division, who had been captured by the local resistance.

A brief gun battle ensued. Her Maquis minders escaped unscathed in the confusion. However, Szabo was captured when she ran out of ammunition, around midday on 10 June 1944, near Salon-la-Tour. Her captors were most likely from the 1st Battalion of 3rd SS Panzer Grenadier Regiment Deutschland (Das Reich Division). In R.J. Minney’s biography she is described as putting up fierce resistance with her Sten gun, although German documents of the incident record no German injuries or casualties. A recent biography of Vera Atkins, the intelligence officer for the French section of SOE, notes that that there was a great deal of confusion about what happened to Szabo—the story was revised four times—and states that the Sten gun incident “was probably a fabrication.”

Interrogation, torture and execution

She was transferred to the custody of the Sicherheitsdienst(SD) (SS Security Service) in Limoges, where she was interrogated for four days. From there, she was moved to Fresnes Prison in Paris and brought to Gestapo headquarters at 84 Avenue Foch for interrogation and torture. In August 1944, she was moved to Ravensbrück concentration camp, where over 92,000 women died. Although she endured hard labour and malnutrition, she managed to help save the life of Belgian resistance courier Hortense Clews.

Violette Szabo was executed, aged 23, by SS firing squad on or about 5 February 1945. Her body was cremated in the camp’s crematorium.

Three other women members of the SOE were also executed at Ravensbrück: Denise BlochCecily Lefort, and Lilian Rolfe. Of the SOE’s 55 female agents, thirteen were killed in action or died in Nazi concentration camps

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BELOW ARE SOME BRIEF IMAGES OF AN ORIGINAL WW2 “F.A.N.Y” (FIRST AID NURSING YEOMANRY ) – WTS (WOMENS TRANSPORT SERVICES ) UNIFORM COMPLETE WITH ITS ORIGINAL WW2 ISSUE GAS MASK … AS WOULD HAVE ALSO BEEN WORN BY VIOLETTE SZABO DURING HER DUTIES PRIOR TO HAVING BEEN SECONDED TO THE SOE  (SPECIAL OPERATIONS EXECUTIVE ) AS A BRITISH SECRET AGENT .

A VERY SCARCE AND HIGHLY SOUGHT AFTER HISTORIC ITEM IN ITS OWN RIGHT  DISPLAYED HERE TOO IN AND AMONGST OTHER WW2 F.A.N.Y , ATS, WTS ETC ETC WOMEN IN WARTIME MOVEMENTS

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World War 2 FANY ( First Aid Nursing Yeomany) uniform on mannequin displayed along with an original WW2   anti aircraft binocular gunsight on tripod now on display to the public here at the Crime Through Time Collection at Littledean jail, Gloucestershire

World War 2 FANY ( First Aid Nursing Yeomany) uniform on mannequin displayed along with an original WW2   anti aircraft binocular gunsight on tripod now on display to the public here at the Crime Through Time Collection at Littledean jail, Gloucestershire

BELOW AND ABOVE

World War 2 FANY ( First Aid Nursing Yeomany) uniform on mannequin displayed along with an original WW2 anti aircraft binocular gunsight on tripod now on display to the public here at the Crime Through Time Collection at Littledean jail, Gloucestershire

World War 2 FANY ( First Aid Nursing Yeomany) uniform on mannequin displayed along with an original WW2   anti aircraft binocular gunsight on tripod now on display to the public here at the Crime Through Time Collection at Littledean jail, Gloucestershire

below… Film poster advertising “CARVE HER NAME WITH PRIDE” based on the heroine -Violette Szabo… starring Virginia McKenna and Paul Scofield2

ORIGINAL  1958 CINEMA RELEASE POSTER

ORIGINAL 1958 CINEMA RELEASE POSTER

George Cross posthumously awarded to Violette Szabo’s daughter Tania
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Croix de Guerre posthumously awarded to Violette Szabo’s daughter Tania 4

Tania Szabó is Violette’s daughter, although, as she says, she is of an age to be her mother’s grandmother by now. On her ninth birthday, in June 1951, she sailed forAustralia with her grandparents, Charles and Reine Bushell, on the £10 ticket. After college in Armidale, NSW and a stint as a psychiatric nurse in Sydney, she returned to England in the New Year of 1963. It was so very cold.

     After working as a secretary, croupier, office administrator in various companies, completing a course in computing in the late 60s (cards with holes and no electronics) and spending a year in Beverley Hills studying Spanish while continuing her studies in the humanities, she returned to England and finally moved to Jersey in April 1976 where she opened her Language Studio with the help of Paul Emile Francis Holley, a friend of Violette’s. He also trained her in the recognition of German armaments and uniforms as he was a British Intelligence Officer during WWII.


Tania is an author as well as a professional multilingual translator and private tutor. The author, Avv. Mario Zacchi of Florence and author of Il Mastino Napoletano – the Italian Mastiff, the Standard and History of this amazing dog commissioned Tania to translate it. It is now lodged with the British Library. Zacchi’s writing in his native Italian immediately draws you into the mystery, fierce loyalty and funny antics of this Cerebus of dogs and it was a sheer delight for Tania to translate into English bringing his love and erudition of this remarkable breed to an anglophone readership.

On 29 April 2009, Paul Holley, the Intelligence officer,  who had trained Violette in German armaments and uniforms, and was Tania’s friend and mentor, died one month into his 90th year. She continues to miss his friendship and invaluable support. She has closed her Language Studio and now retired could no longer afford to live in Jersey and now lives in a lovely 17th century cottage just outside Builth Wells in Wales. She is still sorting out all the books and archives before completing her paperback version of Young Brave and Beautiful and getting back down to writing Etienne’s amazing life’s story.

Violette’s only daughter Tania Szabo pictured at her home in Jersey i 2007

6 (1) Violette’s only daughter Tania Szabo pictured as a young child shortly after the death of her mother 6 (2) Various publications relating to the life of Violette Szabo 7 8

Below is a historical insight into the Ravensbruck Nazi Death Camp where upon she was imprisoned and executed

INFAMOUS & NOTORIOUS AMERICAN GANGSTERS – THE LIFE AND DEATH OF OUTLAWS BONNIE AND CLYDE

AS FEATURED HERE AT THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION HERE AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL ALONG WITH A MASS OF OTHER TRUE CRIME MEMORABILIA , MUDERABILIA , ETC 

VARIOUS IMAGES OF BONNIE AND CLYDE BEFORE AND AFTER THEY WERE SHOT BY THE LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS

Bonnie Elizabeth Parker (October 1, 1910 – May 23, 1934) and Clyde Chestnut Barrow (March 24, 1909 – May 23, 1934) were well-known outlaws, robbers, and criminals who traveled the Central United States with their gang during the Great Depression. Their gang was known as the “Barrow Gang” which included Bonnie and Clyde, and at times Buck Barrow, Blanche Barrow, Raymond Hamilton, W.D. Jones, Joe Palmer, Ralph Fults, and Henry Methvin. Their exploits captured the attention of the American public during the “public enemy era” between 1931 and 1934. Though known today for his dozen-or-so bank robberies, Barrow in fact preferred to rob small stores or rural gas stations. The gang is believed to have killed at least nine police officers and committed several civilian murders. The couple themselves were eventually ambushed and killed in Louisiana by law officers. Their reputation was cemented in American pop folklore by Arthur Penn’s 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde.[1]

Even during their lifetimes, the couple’s depiction in the press was at considerable odds with the hardscrabble reality of their life on the road—particularly in the case of Parker. Though she was present at a hundred or more felonies during her two years as Barrow’s companion,[2] she was not the machine gun-wielding cartoon killer portrayed in the newspapers, newsreels, and pulp detective magazines of the day. Gang member W. D. Joneswas unsure whether he had ever seen her fire at officers.[3][4] Parker’s reputation as a cigar-smoking gun moll grew out of a playful snapshot found by police at an abandoned hideout, released to the press, and published nationwide; while she did chain-smoke Camel cigarettes, she was not a cigar smoker.[5]

Author-historian Jeff Guinn explains that it was the release of these very photos that put the outlaws on the media map and launched their legend: “John Dillinger had matinee-idol good looks and Pretty Boy Floyd had the best possible nickname, but the Joplin photos introduced new criminal superstars with the most titillating trademark of all—illicit sex. Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker were young and unmarried. They undoubtedly slept together. Without Bonnie, the media outside Texas might have dismissed Clyde as a gun-toting punk, if it ever considered him at all. With her sassy photographs, Bonnie supplied the sex-appeal, the oomph, that allowed the two of them to transcend the small-scale thefts and needless killings that actually comprised their criminal careers.”[6]

NOTORIOUS AMERICAN GANGSTER … AND MIDWEST BANK ROBBER- JOHN “JACKRABBIT” DILLINGER PUBLIC ENEMY NUMBER 1

AS FEATURED HERE AT THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION  LITTLEDEAN JAIL , ALONG WITH A MASS OF OTHER TRUE CRIME MEMORABILIA , MUDERABILIA , ETC 

BELOW IS A BRIEF PICTORIAL GALLERY,  HISTORICALLY INTERACTIVE INSIGHT AND ORIGINAL NEWSREEL FOOTAGE SURROUNDING THE LIFE AND DEATH OF PUBLIC ENEMY NUMBER 1 AND NOTORIOUS MIDWEST BANK ROBBER …. JOHN ” JACKRABBIT ” DILLINGER .

John Herbert Dillinger, Jr. (June 22, 1903 – July 22, 1934) was an American bank robber of German descent in the Depression-era United States. He was charged with, but never convicted of, the murder of an East Chicago, Indiana, police officer during a shoot-out. This was his only alleged homicide and was likely not his action. His gang robbed two dozen banks and four police stations. Dillinger escaped from jail twice.

In 1933–34, seen in retrospect as the heyday of the Depression-era outlaw, Dillinger was the most notorious of all, standing out even among more violent criminals such as Baby Face NelsonPretty Boy Floyd, and Bonnie and Clyde. (Decades later, the first major book about ’30s gangsters was titled The Dillinger Days.) Media reports in his time were spiced with exaggerated accounts of Dillinger’s bravado and daring and his colorful personality. The government demanded federal action, and J. Edgar Hoover developed a more sophisticated Federal Bureau of Investigation as a weapon against organized crime and used Dillinger and his gang as his campaign platform to launch the FBI.[1]

After evading police in four states for almost a year, Dillinger was wounded and returned to his father’s home to recover. He returned to Chicago in July 1934 and met his end at the hands of police and federal agents who were informed of his whereabouts by Ana Cumpănaş (the owner of the brothel where Dillinger sought refuge at the time). On July 22, the police and Division of Investigation[2][3] closed in on the Biograph Theater. Federal agents, led by Melvin Purvis and Samuel P. Cowley, moved to arrest him as he left the theater. He pulled a weapon and attempted to flee but was shot three (four according to some historians) times and killed.

AMERICAN GANGSTER,…….” JOHN DILLINGER” PUBLIC ENEMY NO 1
Here’s some great vintage news reel footage relating to to the demise of Dillinger seen here laid out for all to see , shot by the federal authorities .

ITEMS ON DISPLAY AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL INCLUDE