Diana Rowden remembered

Gabrielle McDonald-Rothwell - the New Zealand based author of the Diana Rowden biography “Her Finest Hour” - has been in Europe for a special ceremony in memory of Diana, held at the former Natzweiler-Struthof concentration camp which is south west of Strasbourg. Natzweiler was the only permanent Nazi concentration camp in France, and where four SOE women agents - Diana Rowden, Andrée Borrell, Vera Leigh and Sonya Olschanezky - were executed on July 6th 1944. The ceremony was also attended by Diana's cousin Jamie Boyle, and Gabrielle has reported that “Le chant des Partisans was sung by us all at the service de Diana ... very slowly ... and oh my oh my ... brought the house down and not a dry eye.” She’s kindly supplied some photos of the ceremony, which show a wreath being laid by Claude Janier-Dubry and Jacques Poli on behalf of the French family which had hidden Diana while she was an agent; the wreath laid on behalf of the FANY and also one from this Charity; and Gabrielle with the British bugler who'd played The Last Post.

Photos courtesy of Gabrielle McDonald-Rothwell and Claude Janier-Dubry


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

by Gabrielle McDonald-Rothwell www.amberley-books.com/her-finest-hour-9754.html The awful fate of betrayed volunteer who operated behind enemy lines in France www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/04/29/awful-fate-betrayed-volunteer-operated-behind-enemy-lines-france/

Natzweiler-Struthof concentration camp




This also seemed an appropriate moment to give a new audience to Into the Dark - a short film by Geneviève Simms which she based on an original audio interview with F Section’s Vera Atkins. Into the Dark was awarded the Judges' Commendation Prize at the Imperial War Museum's 2005 Film Festival.