Riding all night through rain, Sybil returned home at dawn having given nearly the whole regiment of 400 Colonial troops the order to assemble. While the regiment could not save Danbury from being burned, they joined forces with the Continental Army following the subsequent Battle of Ridgefield and were able to stop the British advance and force their return to their boats.
Following the battle, General George Washington personally thanked Sybil for her service and bravery. Although every American school child knows the story of Paul Revere, unfortunately few are taught about Sybil Ludington's courageous feat and her contribution to war effort.
Born in New Zealand in 1912, Wake grew up in Australia but ran away from home at the age of 16 to become a nurse and later a journalist. She used an inheritance from an aunt to travel to New York, London, and then to Paris where she worked for a variety of news outlets during the 1930s. She and her husband, Henri Fiocca, were living in Marseille when Germany invaded France, trapping them in the country. Undaunted, Wake became a courier for the Resistance and helped stranded British military personnel escape capture and return to the UK.
When the local resistance network was betrayed in 1943, Wake fled Marseille; her husband remained behind to settle the family business and was captured and executed by the Gestapo after he refused to disclose her location. Wake was herself arrested in Toulouse, but was released four days later when the Gestapo didn’t realize her true identity. From Toulouse, Wake tried five times to escape into neutral Spain, but each of these attempts were thwarted by German patrols. At one point to escape, Wake was forced to hurl herself from a train window while dodging gunfire. Finally, on her sixth attempt Wake was able to cross into Spain while buried in the back of a coal truck.
From Spain, Wake made her way to Britain and was soon recruited by the Special Operations Executive, the British organization focused on conducting espionage and aiding resistance movements in Nazi-occupied territory. Wake distinguished herself in training and parachuted into France in April 1944, less than a year after her daring escape. Wake’s instructions were to help the Resistance to prepare to assist the Allied invasion and she dedicated herself to building up various resistance groups into a cohesive fighting force. With her help, this group of 7,500 French Resistance guerrilla fighters assaulted factories and communications, successfully engaging over 22,000 SS soldiers.
After the war, Wake was honored by Australia, France, Great Britain, and the US for her service. She continued to work as an intelligence officer and also tried her hand at politics. She published her autobiography, “The White Mouse”, and her story was also featured in several TV shows and movies, including a 1987 made for TV movie called “Nancy Wake.” She scoffed at her portrayal in that film, which showed her cooking breakfast and getting romantically involved with another resistance member: “For goodness sake, did the allies parachute me into France to fry eggs and bacon for the men?” she said. “There wasn’t an egg to be had for love nor money, and even if there had been, why would I be frying it when I had men to do that sort of thing?” Wake passed away in London in 2011 at the age of 98
Nancy Wake is one of 26 incredible women featured in the excellent book for ages 13 and up, "Women Heroes of World War II: 26 Stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Resistance, and Rescue" at http://www.amightygirl.com/women-heroes-of-world-war-ii
For adult readers, there is also a recent biography about her amazing story: "Nancy Wake: SOE's Greatest Heroine" http://amzn.to/1BGXJZv
A complementary book telling the stories of heroic women of WWI was also recently released: "Women Heroes of World War I: 16 Remarkable Resisters, Soldiers, Spies, and Medics" at http://www.amightygirl.com/women-heroes-of-world-war-i
o learn about another real-life WWII resistance fighter, British special agent Pearl Witherington, check out "Code Name Pauline," for ages 12 and up at http://www.amightygirl.com/code-name-pauline
To learn about more heroic women from throughout history, check out our recent blog post, "Spies, Medics, Soldiers, & Peacemakers: 15 Women Wartime Heroes You Should Know" at http://www.amightygirl.com/blog?p=11974
Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green "I'm really hoping this can change the way we treat cancer in America,"
The loss of close family members to the disease fuels Green's drive to find more effective treatments. After the death of her parents, she was raised by an aunt and uncle, both of whom died from cancer. She took time off from school to help her uncle through chemotherapy and says that she "saw first-hand how devastating it was." She adds that her aunt "refused the treatment because she didn't want to experience the side effects. It was heartbreaking, but I could appreciate she wanted to die on her own terms." This experience motivated her to find alternative cancer treatments that don't have the devastating side effects of radiation and chemotherapy.
In addition to pursuing her research, which has received a huge boost by the grant from the Veterans Administration HBCU-Research Scientist Training Program Career Development Award, Green also works to inspire the next generation to follow in her footsteps. Physics is still an overwhelmingly male profession so Green rarely turns down invitations to speaks at schools and nonprofit organizations. "Usually if there is an invitation to speak at a forum like that, I accept it because I feel like it's a responsibility," she says. "There are so few of us (black women in STEM fields) I don't feel like I have the luxury to say I'm too busy."
"There are black female scientists who don't get media exposure," she continues. "Because of that, young black girls don't see those role models as often as they see Beyonce or Nicki Minaj. It's important to know that our brains are capable of more than fashion and entertainment and music, even though arts are important... It takes a village to raise a child. I repeat that because a village of people helped raise me and instill values in me, and encouraged me to get to this point. I did not get here by myself. Because of that clarity, I know my responsibility to encourage and mentor the next generation."
To read more about Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green's research on AL.com, visit http://bit.ly/1OzMZYi
To inspire Mighty Girl of all ages with stories starring girls who love science, visit our blog post, "Ignite Her Curiosity: 25 Books Starring Science-Loving Mighty Girls," at http://www.amightygirl.com/blog?p=10940
Role models help show Mighty Girls everywhere the possibilities before them -- to introduce your Mighty Girl to real-life female trailblazers in science, arts, and other fields, visit our "Role Models" biography section at http://www.amightygirl.com/books/history-biography/biography
To learn about more pioneering women of science, we highly recommend the new book "Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science -- And The World," for teens and adults alike at http://www.amightygirl.com/headstrong-52-women
And, for our favorite science kits and toys to encourage your own budding scientist from a young age, check out our blog post, "Top 40 Science Toys for Mighty Girls" at http://www.amightygirl.com/blog?p=10528