Spanish volunteer Lieutenant Luis Magirena serving in armoured unit.
Photo No. 76313. Taken in Petrozavodsk. Date unknown.
“Hotel Parlor Maid Takes Flying Lessons.” You know where your priorities lie, Boston.
A woman on a park bench in Nazi Germany hides her face behind her handbag, 1938. The bench is marked ‘Nur Fur Juden’ (For Jews Only).
Erika Wendt, née Erika Schwarze (1917 – 9 April 2003) was a German secretary. During World War II, she was active as a Swedish spy as an employée of August Fincke, the German attaché of trade in Stockholm.
Wendt was of partially Jewish ancestry, and her father’s publication business in Stralsund had been confiscated by the Nazis. From January 1942, she was a secretary of the German attaché of trade in Stockholm. She provided information about secret Gestapo operations and agents active in Sweden under the code name Onkel (Uncle). The Germans changed the codes on 1 March 1943, and she helped the Swedes to break the new codes by sending several messages uncoded. After this, Wendt received an order to return to Germany, not knowing that she was to be executed, and was taken into custody by the Swedish security police which provided her with a new identity. She lived the rest of her life in Sweden and published her memoirs in 1993.
Cecile Pearl Witherington Cornioley CBE (24 June 1914 – 24 February 2008) was a World War II SOE agent born in Paris to British parents.
Pearl Witherington was born and raised in France but was a British subject. She was employed at the British embassy in Paris and engaged to Henri Cornioley (1910–1999) when the Germans invaded in May 1940. She escaped from occupied France with her mother and three sisters in December 1940 and eventually arrived in London where she found work with the Air Ministry. Determined to fight back against the German occupation of France, she joined the Special Operations Executive (SOE) on 8 June 1943. In training she emerged as the “best shot” the service had ever seen.
Given the code name “Marie”, Witherington was dropped by parachute into occupied France on 22 September 1943, where she joined Maurice Southgate, leader of the Stationer Network. Over the next eight months, she worked as Southgate’s courier.
After the Gestapo arrested Southgate in May 1944 who was subsequently deported to Buchenwald, she became leader of the new Wrestler Network, under a new code-name “Pauline”, in the Valencay–Issoudun–Châteauroux triangle. She reorganised the network with the help of her fiancé, Henri Cornioley, and it fielded over 1,500 members of the Maquis; they played an important role fighting the German Army during the D-Day landings. They were so effective that the Nazi regime put a ƒ1,000,000 bounty on her head. The Germans even ordered 2,000 men to attack her force with artillery in a 14 hour long battle. Cornioley states:
“ “We were attacked by 2,000 Germans on the 11th June  at 8 o’clock in the morning and the small maquis, comprising approximately 40 men, badly armed and untrained, put up a terrific fight, with the neighbouring communist maquis which numbered approximately 100 men.” ”
She records that the battle raged for 14 hours and the Germans lost 86 men while the Maquis lost 24 “including civilians who were shot and the injured who were finished off”. She fled to a cornfield until the Germans left the area. While the Germans succeeded in breaking up her group, she quickly regrouped and launched large scale guerilla assaults that wreaked havoc among German columns travelling to the battlefront through her area of operations.The force she commanded ultimately killed 1,000 German soldiers while suffering few casualties of its own and disrupted a key railway line connecting the south of France to Normandy more than 800 times. She would ultimately preside over the surrender of 18,000 German troops.
Another Italian aircraft well appreciated by the Luftwaffe’s crew was the Fiat G.12, a modern all metal three engines especially suitable for troop transport, up 22 full equipped men, very faster of the Ju 52. After the Italy’s armistice (8 September 1943) the Luftwaffe seized some Regia Aeronautica’s G.12 and at same time ordered to Fiat the continuation of the production for its requirements. On Spring 1944 the assembly line of Turin’s Fiat factory was interrupted by the heavy Allied raids. The Reichsluftfahrtministerium at Berlin assigned the G.12s to Transportfliegerstaffel 4 (also knew as “Savoia Staffel”). On October 1943 the Staffel was moved from Italy, Grosseto airfield, to Celle, Lower Saxony, and on December had in fleet eight G.12 increased to 22 by April 1944. However the strong Allied air superiority over the Germany reduced the use’s possibilities of the transport aircraft and on June 1944 the Staffel moved prior to Schroda, near Posen, and after few days to Southern Germany. The new base of the G.12 was Dornberg, about 45 km SW of Würzburg, Bavaria. On autumn 1944 the G.12 still flyable were 18 and on September was switched to Hungarian Air Force for airborne troop’s transport. According some source early Spring 1945 the G.12 still in service with the Hungarian Air Force were only four, grounded for fuel lack and destroyed by means of explosive charges on 21 March 1945