Heroine Of The French Resistance


Marie-France MacCarthy was brought up in the most rarefied French circles, becoming a fine singer; yet it was in action during the Second World War that she especially distinguished herself.

Her extraordinary courage, strength of will, initiative and selflessness – qualities which remained largely hidden during her sheltered childhood blossomed when she joined the French Resistance.

From 1941 to 1943, she helped to rescue Allied pilots who had been shot down over France. Sometimes she would bring them to stay secretly at the family home in north west Paris, either until transport could be arranged or she could take them to the coast herself.

On one occasion she bought her pilots newspapers to read on the train, and was horrified when, as a German inspector appeared, one of them was holding his paper upside down and with trembling hands. Luckily their identification documents passed the inspector’s checks without the necessity for conversation. Living in a room in Paris at this time, she returned home one day when she saw a Gestapo officer leaving the building. She never went back to that room.

After 1943 she worked with the Resistance in Brittany, helping with preparations for the Allied invasion, laying explosives on railway lines and in one operation taking three German soldiers prisoner.

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