9th Feb 2018
Club Member Peter Seymour gave a cracking talk on 19 February when he enlightened members about a lady called Mary Lindell. Mary was born in 1895 and had what you might call a privileged background. That was put to one side in 1914 when she volunteered as a nurse and subsequently worked in France. She was awarded the Croix do Guerre for bravery under fire.
Between the wars she settled in France and had a family. On the outbreak of WWII, Mary and her sons were in action, initially helping young Frenchmen escape the clutches of the Nazis from their idea of “volunteering”. This later worked for the benefit of British airman who had been shot down.
Mary’s position was becoming precarious and so she herself escaped back to England though she was persuaded to return to France under a false identity to set up more escape routes.
Some readers may recall the film “Cockleshell Heroes”, a true story about a group of Royal Marines who made their way up the River Gironde to block the harbour in Bordeaux by sinking merchant shipping. The raid was successful but at a terrible cost; only two of the eight made it back to England, the remainder either dying of cold or being executed. What the film does not show is that the two survivors made their way back to England via a route set up by Mary Lindell.
She survived being shot while attempting to escape and ended the war in Ravensbruck, her life probably being saved by the fact that she volunteered to work in the camp hospital. She was awarded a further Croix de Guerre for her work in the war and died in 1986.
A riveting talk about one of England’s truly great and unsung heroines