While scanning the headlines for cigar-related news, I came across an obit in the Washington Post for Nancy Wake, a British agent who operated in German-occupied France during World War II. Not only was Wake one of the biggest badasses in history, but she was also a cigar smoker and a champion drinker.
According to the obituary, she “chomped on cigars and bested guerilla fighters in drinking bouts.” All the while, the obit continued, “She traveled nowhere without her Chanel lipstick, face cream, and a favorite red satin cushion.”
Wake was trained by the British to kill with her bare hands, para-drop into hostile territory, and fire machine guns. According to the obit, she once killed a sentry at a German arms factory by karate-chopping him to death. Later in the obit, it is mentioned that she executed a successful raid on an arms factory, though I’m not sure if it was the same arms factory.
By far my favorite quote in the whole piece is by one of her colleagues in the French resistance: “She is the most feminine woman I know until the fighting starts – then she is like five men.” Now imagine the woman in the attached picture beating the hell out of an entire bar full of people.
The Gestapo put a large price on Wake’s head, but all of their attempts to catch her were unsuccessful. It is because of her ability to evade German capture that she earned the nickname of “The White Mouse.” It is estimated she was responsible for helping to save hundreds of lives.
Anyway, the obituary is a great read, so check it out if you get the chance. Tonight I’ll light one up for Nancy Wake, the Allied spy who smoke, drank, fought, and lived to the ripe old age of 98, and hope that I can someday be one tenth as awesome.