Friday, 27 August 2021

Formidable ladies of history

Before I began researching my latest book, Distant Shadows, I never considered how many unsung heroines there have been throughout the last 1000 years.

From Eleanor of Aquitaine, who was married to 2 kings and produced Richard the Lionheart and King John through to Professor Sara Gilbert, relatively "unsung" formidable ladies abound. For the thousands we know about, many more thousands remain unknown or are awarded only passing mentions in documents that have survived.


Distant Shadows
 began when I read about the sisters Jacqueline and Eileen Nearne. They worked for SOE in Nazi occupied Europe as radio operators and couriers. Despite both being captured and sent to Ravensbruck, the sisters survived the war. Eileen died in 2010, unknown until the discovery of the civilian MBE in her effects. 

I was astounded that these women had suffered so much for their country but were largely ignored by the British government, who, in my opinion, used the Official Secrets Act too liberally to ensure nobody knew who they were. Women who had endured constant danger and often betrayal, torture and execution by the Nazi regime.

I know very few people - men or women - who would exhibit that degree of courage and steadfastness. We owe them more than we can say.

If you want to know more, my blogpost is here


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