Her Finest Hour: The Heroic Life of Diana Rowden, Wartime Secret Agent

Her Finest Hour: The Heroic Life of Diana Rowden, Wartime Secret Agent

by Gabrielle McDonald-Rothwell


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Diana Rowden was a woman of the finest character. As an agent with the Special Operations Executive (SOE), she was dropped into France alongside Noor Inayat Khan and worked in the Resistance stronghold of the Franche-Comté department. Hunted at every turn by the Gestapo, Diana worked tirelessly for the Allied war effort, playing a part in the sabotage of the Peugeot factory at Sochaux and delivering frequent radio messages. In the ultimate tale of intrigue, Gabrielle McDonald-Rothwell relates how Diana’s escapades ended in betrayal by one of her own colleagues, and describes the final desperation of the concentration camp where her war ended.This full biography, untold until now, attempts for the first time to honour Diana’s service to her country. At a time when the use of female secret agents was controversial and marred by establishment prejudices, Diana’s tragic life is here given its full recognition. Although she was later Mentioned in Despatches and awarded an MBE and the Croix de Guerre, this little known individual has all but vanished from the annals of Second World War history. This is a story of a woman who, with a singular bravery and devotion to duty, distinguished herself as one of the SOE’s finest agents.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781445677163
Publisher: Amberley Publishing
Publication date: 05/01/2018
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.70(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Gabrielle McDonald-Rothwell is a writer and war historian specialising in the Second World War. A graduate of History and English, she has written for a wide range of New Zealand newspapers and magazines including the Reader’s Digest. In 1989 she won an award for the Best Researched Article. Her previous books include 'The Sunken Garden', 'New Zealand’s Secret Heroes', and 'The Man with Nine Lives'. She lives in Auckland, New Zealand.

Table of Contents

Map, F Section Circuits Active August 1943 viii

Foreword x

Preface xiii

Author's Note xvi

Acknowledgements xvii

Part 1

Prologue 2

1 Early Days 8

2 War Comes to France 17

3 Escaping from France 37

4 The Special Operations Executive 43

5 A Wizard Time 71

6 Fair Stood the Wind for France 97

Part 2

7 Resistance in the Jura 126

8 Betrayal 158

9 Inside the Avenue Foch 175

10 Karlsruhe Prison 192

11 Natzweiler - Camp of Hell 203

12 The Trial 223

13 Footprints in the Sawdust 239

14 A Day without Sunshine 255

Appendices 284

Notes 288

Bibliography 294

Index 296

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