May 24, 2017

Susan Mary Gillian Travers (23 September 1909 – 18 December 2003) was a Englishwoman who served in the French Red Cross as a nurse and ambulance driver during Second World War. She later became the only British military woman to be matriculated in the French Foreign Legion, having also served in Vietnam, during the First Indochina War. At the outbreak of the Second World War, Travers joined the French Red Cross as a nurse, but later became an ambulance driver with the French Expeditionary Force to Finland in 1940. In 1941, she drove a medical doctor of the 1st Free French Division during Operation Exporter, during which the French loyal to the Vichy government combat engaged their co-citizens of the Free French Forces. She then travelled to North Africa via Dahomey and the Congo. In late May 1942, as the Afrika Korps prepared to attack Bir Hakeim, Koenig ordered all women out of the area. The Germans attacked on 26 May. Not long after, Travers joined a convoy into the rear area and Koenig agreed to her requests to return to Bir Hakeim, since he felt the German attack was a failure. However, during the following fortnight, the Luftwaffe flew 1,400 sorties against the defences of Bir Hakeim, whilst four German/Italian divisions attacked on the ground. During the bombardment, a shell tore off the roof of the car of général Kœnig, whose driver, Susan Travers, aided by a Vietnamese driver, fixed it on the spot immediately. After the war, her military status was regularized and she applied to and was formally enrolled in the Légion Étrangère, as an Adjudant-chef. Travers served in Indochina.In 2000, aged 91, assisted by Wendy Holden, she wrote her autobiography, Tomorrow to Be Brave: A Memoir of the Only Woman Ever to Serve in the French Foreign Legion, having waited for all the other principals in her life story to die before writing it.

Source: Wikipedia