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April 01, 2008

Heroine of WWII not considered leadership material

A female agent of WWII was assessed as "not having the personality to act as a leader" before she was parachuted into France, files have revealed. 

Pearl Cornioley, who died in February, ended up in command of 3,000 French resistance fighters.

Documents released at the National Archives say Mrs Cornioley was later commended for "colossal bravery" and "outstanding powers of leadership".

She was eventually given her Parachute Wings at the age of 92. [BBC]

Cornioley was nominated for a Military Cross after the war, but she was ineligible to receive it because she was a woman. They tried to offer her a civilian decoration instead, but she refused. Finally, she was given a military decoration through the air ministry.

Women are still not allowed to serve in the American Special Forces.

 

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Comments

or in uk, german, french, russian, chinese, japanese etc., special forces either...wonder why ?

well if she showed lack of leadership, I'd like to see what real leadership is.

From the story, it looks like there was some kind of program that trained civilians to carry out military missions. Does anyone know anything about the history of this? Was it done by the French, or the British? Was it specifically designed for participation in the French resistance? Were there a lot of women involved? The BBC story is pretty sketchy on the details.

Here is her NYT obituary:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/11/world/europe/11cornioley.html
It provides a few more details of her exploits.

I saw Pearl profiled in a WWII program somewhere on Direct TV a while back. She showed them. Nothing screams leadership like parachuting behind enemy lines. That she wasn't properly recognized for decades is typical sexist military bullshit.

I'd feel a whole lot better if I thought the military had progressed in any way close to society as a whole. It's no accident that Abu Ghraib Commander Colonel Janis Karpinski and Gitmo staff judge advocate Lt. Colonel Diane Beaver took much of the blame for torture shit dreamt up by Bush's frat boys.

-AF
Andrew Sullivan Is A Fraud

Pearle is much too good for the American Military and their commander in chief. They should have to earn their stripes from her.

Whadda ya want? She was just a chick.

Lesley

She wasn't American, so I'm unsure of what point you're trying to make.

---
--Nothing screams leadership like parachuting behind enemy lines.--

Very true. She was deserving of any honor one can think of.

"From the story, it looks like there was some kind of program that trained civilians to carry out military missions. Does anyone know anything about the history of this? Was it done by the French, or the British? Was it specifically designed for participation in the French resistance? Were there a lot of women involved? The BBC story is pretty sketchy on the details."

It sounds like she was trained by the Special Operations Executive. SOE was run by the British and trained agents (of varying nationalities) for clandestine missions in occupied Europe. Most of these agents went into occupied France, of whom most were French by birth or had a French parent. Once there they generally hooked up with in-place Resistance networks or started their own.

Although SOE trainees were generally considered to be spies/terrorists/saboteurs and were usually executed as such, male SOE agents were generally given military commissions so that they could try to claim Geneva convention protections if captured. The only thing available to women was a commission in FANY (First Aid Nursing Yeomanry) which was a civilian organization, so the female agents generally didn't have that protection. Later I think they sometimes got commissions in the women's auxiliary forces.

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