In this episode you’ll hear Celine’s story. She was a young French woman who first joined the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force in the UK, and then later became a British Special Operations Executive (SOE) agent. She parachuted into France to courier, sabotage and coordinate among Maquis groups.
You’ll hear how she challenged biased cultural beliefs about women and her references that underscore the personality of many of the women I interviewed ~ independent, strategic, compassionate, courageous and instinctual.
Celine made crucial contributions in one of the most turbulent times of WW 2; during the D-Day invasion and the weeks that followed.
Post war, the British government honoured some SOE agents with medals ~ the men received far more than the women. And for those women like Celine who did survive and receive commendation, their medals were civilian, rather than military.
Episodes include war-related content that some listeners may find disturbing and/or traumatizing. This content includes graphic references to sexual assault and suicide.
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- About the British SOE (Special OperationsExecutive) and attitudes about women
- Bipolar stereotype of women
- Projections, repression and fear of ‘other’
- Celine’s story, leaving France to finish school in England
- Joining the WAAF, Women’s Auxiliary Air Force
- Training at SOE ‘finishing school’ in Scotland
- Explosives, guns and safe cracking
- Getting married before deployment to France
- Dropping into France and a rough landing
- Recruiting and supplies for the underground teams
- D-day and close calls
- Staying to help the allied forces
- A final tragic encounter
Links and Resources
A list of SOE agents
Secret Scottish training camps
SOE Training, Transport and Equipment
The Female Spies of the SOE
The Witch hunts
A Brief Guide to Embodied Cognition
Lhasa Pilgrim Circuits and Kora
Yangon’s Shwedagon Pagoda
Women’s Auxiliary Air Force
Special Operations SOE Tempsford Secret Airfield WWII Spy Base (YouTube Video)
The Free French
Shaving women’s heads after liberation