19th February 2021
Paris Plaque for Lilian Rolfe, WAAF and
F Section, SOE
Perseverance has at long last paid off for SWW2LN Friend, Barbara Cronk, a member of the Rolfe family.
Barbara had long wanted a plaque on the Paris house where Lilian had been born. Not only did she persuade the Paris city authorities that there ought to be one, but she impressed them enough with Lilian's story that they decided to obtain all necessary permissions and fund it themselves. The Entente Cordiale is clearly alive and kicking, the plaque was installed on 19th February 2021 on the building at 32 avenue Duquesne in the 7th arrondissement of Paris and a formal unveiling will take place post-Covid when travel regulations permit.
Lilian was one of the three women of F Section (the others were Denise Bloch and Violette Szabó) who were executed at KL-Ravensbrück concentration camp between 25 January and 5 February 1945. They have no known grave.
As she held a commission as a Section Officer in the WAAF, Lilian is officially commemorated at the Commonwealth Air Forces Memorial to the Missing at Runnymede in Surrey, panel 277. She is also commemorated in Britain: on the FANY memorial at St. Paul’s Church, Knightsbride, London – as she also held a rank in the FANY; and in south London where a block is named after her on Lambeth Council’s Vincennes housing estate - so-named due to the twinning of Lambeth with Vincennes, a suburb of Paris.
In France, Lilian is listed at the F Section Memorial at Valençay; remembered in the Museum of the Resistance in Lorris; and in Montargis the rue Claudie Rolfe, (originally named the rue Lilian Vera Rolfe, but changed to partially reflect the name – Claudie Rodier – by which she was known to the local people) keeps her memory alive.
In Germany her name is included on the memorial at the site of KL-Ravensbrück to the four F Section women agents executed there (Cicely Lefort was the fourth); and in Brazil (from where Lilian came to Britain to join the WAAF), she is commemorated on the Second World War roll of honour of the British Church in Botafogo, Rio de Janeiro.
Well done Barbara, from all at The SWW2LN.
Credits: Paul McCue
Photo credits: Barbara Cronk, Malcolm Rolfe, Paul McCue, H. R. McCue, Ravensbrück Memorial Museum.
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