Leading article: A good war

The wartime exploits of Nancy Wake, nicknamed the White Mouse by the Gestapo, inspired a television series, a novel by Sebastian Faulks and a major feature film, soon to start shooting.

When Hitler invaded France in 1940 she was in Marseilles married to a wealthy industrialist. Five years later she had become one of the most decorated servicewomen of the war, first for helping Jewish refugees and Allied airmen escape to Spain, and later, after D-Day, successfully leading 7,000 maquisards against 22,000 SS troops. The death of this courageous and resourceful woman reminds us what unforeseen abilities may lie dormant in us all, awaiting extraordinary times to bring them to light.