Fiocca, Nancy, 1916-

Fiocca was a French Resistance leader of great courage. Nancy Fiocca nee Wake was an Australian journalist who had married a rich French industrialist, Henri Fiocca, and worked as an ambulance driver in the early days of the war. When the Germans arrived in Paris, she and her husband fled to Marseilles and there she came into contact with British Prisoners of War. For the next two and a half years she worked for the escape organization, Pat, run by Albert GUfiRISSE. Security in the organization was lax and she decided to leave for Toulouse and then make for Britain via Gibraltar. She was arrested in Toulouse but Guerisse secured her release by telling the police he was a friend of Laval and that Fiocca, his mistress, had committed an indiscretion. She made six further attempts to escape in 1942 and only reached Britain by sea at the end of June 1943. She was recruited by Colonel BUCKMASTER to join the Special Operations Executive to be trained as a saboteur and resistance agent. In February 1944 she was dropped over Montlucon with detailed orders for harassment operations on the Germans. At first the Maquisards in the Auvergne were suspicious of her but she convinced them that she could pick landing areas for supplies and make arrangements with London and they accepted her leadership. Her group of 7000 Maquisards was involved in a pitched battle with 22,000 Germans on 20 June 1944. She took part in several raids including one in which the Gestapo Headquarters in Montlucon was destroyed despite the presence of Germans in the town. In August Fiocca entered Vichy with her Maquisards as a national heroine.

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