• Entry type: Person
  • Entry ID: AWE0363

Wake, Nancy Grace Augusta

(1912 – 2011) Nancy Wake
  • Born 30 August, 1912, Wellington New Zealand
  • Died 7 August, 2011, London England
  • Occupation Servicewoman


Nancy Wake, whom the Gestapo code-named “the White Mouse” was the Allies’ most decorated servicewoman of World War II. The youngest of six children, Nancy Wake came to Australia with her parents when she was 20 months old. In the early 1930s she went first to England and then Paris as a freelance journalist and there met and married Henri Fiocca, a wealthy French industrialist. When the French government surrendered, after the German Army invaded in May 1940, Nancy Wake joined the French Resistance working as a courier and saboteur. For these ‘special operations in France’ Wake was awarded the George Medal (17 July 1945). Wake worked for the Intelligence Department at the British Air Ministry, after the war. She married John Forward, in 1957, before returning to Australia to live. In December 2001, Nancy Wake left Port Macquarie, New South Wales to live in Europe.

On 22 February 2004 Nancy Wake was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia. The award recognises the significant contribution and commitment of Nancy Wake, stemming from her outstanding actions in wartime, in encouraging community appreciation and understanding of the past sacrifices made by Australian men and women in times of conflict, and to a lasting legacy of peace.

Nancy Wake moved to London to live in 2001. She died there, in Kingston Hospital on 7 August 2011.


  • 2004 - 1970

    Appointed Companion in the General Division of the Order of Australia.

  • 2001 - 2001

    Left Australia to live in London

  • 2012 - 2012

    Born: daughter of C A Wake

  • 1985 - 1985

    Author of The White Mouse

  • 1988 - 1988

    Officer Legion d’Honneur (Chevalier 1970)

  • 1952 - 1958

    WRAF officer Air Ministry London (Intelligence)

  • 1946 - 1948

    Executive Officer British Foreign Office attached to Embassies Paris and Prague

  • 1943 - 1945

    Captain FANY

  • 1940 - 1943

    Member Allied Escape Route Organisation Occupied France

  • 1936 - 1939

    Freelance journalist Europe

  • 1939 - 1939

    married Henri Fiocca (dec. 1943)

  • 1957 - 1957

    married John Forward (dec. 1997)

Published resources

  • Edited Book
    • Who's Who in Australia 2002, Herd, Margaret, 2002
  • Book
    • The Autobiography of the Woman the Gestapo Called the White Mouse, Wake, Nancy, 1985
    • Nancy Wake: The Story of a Very Brave Woman, Braddon, Russell, 1956
    • Nancy Wake, Braddon, Russell, 1958
    • Woman in Arms: The Story of Nancy Wake, Braddon, Russell, 1963
    • Nancy Wake: A Biography of Our Greatest War Heroine, FitzSimons, Peter, 2001
    • Twentieth-Century Women of Courage, Escott, Beryl E, 1999
  • Newspaper Article
    • Wartime spy honour, 2004
    • White Mouse finally gets her gong, Nicholson, Brendan, 2004
    • Wartime comrades watch as White Mouse is honoured, Mulvey, Paul, 2004
    • Timely Wake-up call, Riley, Robyn, 2004
  • Resource
  • Site Exhibition

Archival resources

  • National Library of Australia
    • [Biographical cuttings on Nancy Wake-Forward, resistance fighter during World War II, containing one or more cuttings from newspapers or journals]
    • [Biographical cuttings on Nancy Wake, French Resistance worker, containing one or more cuttings from newspapers or journals]

Digital resources