A biography by Peter Hore of Mary Lindell. Already a decorated heroine of the First World War, British-born Mary Lindell, Comtesse de Milleville, was one of the most colourful and courageous agents of the Second World War, yet her story has almost been forgotten.
Evoking the spirit of Edith Cavell, and taking the German occupation of Paris in 1940 as a personal affront, she led an escape line for patriotic Frenchmen wanting to join the Free French and for British soldiers left behind after Dunkirk. Famously she helped Jimmy Windsor Lewis to avoid capture by the Germans. After imprisonment on trumped-up charges, she also escaped to England, only to insist on returning to France to set up an escape line for Blondie Hasler, leader of the ‘Cockleshell Heroes’ and for downed Allied aircrew. Arrested again, she was shot while attempting to escape by jumping from a moving train, held in solitary confinement for many months, she witnessed the horrors of German-run prisons and concentration camps at Saarbrücken and Ravensbrück.
When in April 1945, a score of British and American women emerged from Ravensbrück concentration camp, known as the Women’s Hell, they had been kept alive by the willpower and the strength of character of one woman, Mary Lindell. She combined a passion for adventure with blunt speech and persistently displayed the greatest personal bravery despite imprisonment, injury and illness, and being sent to die at Ravensbrück. In the face of German claims that they had no British or American prisoners, Mary smuggled out a plea for rescue and produced her list from her pinafore pocket, complied in secret from the camp records. This vital list contained the names of captured women, many of whom were agents of British Military Intelligence (MI9), the Special Operations Executive (SOE) or the French Resistance.
Poignantly supported by first-hand testimony, Lindell’s List tells the moving story Mary Lindell’s heroic leadership and of the endurance of a group of women who defied the Nazis in the Second World War