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Cecily Lefort (30 April 1900 – February 1945) was a Britishmarker SOE agent, during World War II.

Early life

Born as Cecily Margot MacKenzie in Londonmarker of Scottishmarker ancestry, she lived on the coast of Brittany in Francemarker from the age of 24 with her French husband, Dr. Alex Lefort.

World War II

When World War II broke out she fled occupied France and went to England where she and her husband made their home in Brittany available for the underground resistance to use as part of an escape line for downed British airmen and others needing to get out of occupied France.

In 1941, Lefort joined the British Women's Auxiliary Air Force. The following year, as someone fluent in the French language, she volunteered to serve with the F Section (France) of the Special Operations Executive based in London. On the night of 16 June 1943, together with fellow SOE agents Diana Rowden and Noor Inayat Khan, she was flown to Le Mansmarker in France where they were met by Henri Dericourt. Trained as a courier, once there she was sent to south eastern France where she worked for the "Jockey" network run by Francis Cammaerts.

On 15 September 1943, while meeting with a contact in the city of Montélimarmarker in Drômemarker, Lefort was arrested by the Gestapomarker. After being subjected to a ruthless interrogation and torture, she was sent north to the Fresnes prisonmarker in Parismarker. Then, a few months later in early 1944, she was shipped to Ravensbrückmarker concentration camp about 50 miles from Berlinmarker. Ravensbrück had a gas chamber and crematorium, and at the end of 1944, when the German defeat was imminent, the place became a frantic killing center.

Held in a prison with 30,000 women and children, on her prison uniform Lefort had to wear the red triangle patch identifying her as a resistance worker. Every day the prisoners were made to toil for hours doing such things as paving the streets by pulling a huge iron roller. Suffering from extreme malnutrition and exhaustion, Lefort was deemed by the Germans to no longer be of any value and she was gassed in February, 1945.

Three other female members of the SOE were also executed at Ravensbrück: Denise Bloch, Lilian Rolfe, and Violette Szabo.

Honours

Cecily Lefort was Mentioned in Dispatches for her service to the British, and honored by the government of France with a posthumous Croix de Guerre. She is recorded on the Runnymede Memorialmarker in Surreymarker, England, and as one of the SOE agents who died for the liberation of France, she is listed on the "Roll of Honor" on the Valençay SOE Memorialmarker in the town of Valençaymarker, in the Indremarker departément of France.

References

  • Squadron Leader Beryl E. Escott, Mission Improbable: A salute to the RAF women of SOE in wartime France, London, Patrick Stevens Ltd, 1991. ISBN 1-85260-289-9


  • Liane Jones, A Quiet Courage: Women Agents in the French Resistance, London, Transworld Publishers Ltd, 1990. ISBN 0-593-01663-7


  • Marucs Binney, The Women Who Lived for Danger: The Women Agents of SOE in the Second World War, London, Hodder and Stoughton, 2002. ISBN 0-340-81840-9


  • Sarah Helm, A Life in Secrets: The Story of Vera Atkins and the Lost Agents of SOE, London, Abacus, 2005 ISBN 978-0-349-11936-6



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