Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Émilienne Moreau, Heroine of Loos and Later Pursued by the Nazis

Contributed by Tony Langley

At 17 years old during the battle of Loos in 1915 Émilienne Moreau was decorated by the British and French for having killed single-handedly several German soldiers who were killing wounded British soldiers. The Germans never really took a liking to civilians who killed their soldiers, even in defense of the helpless, which it arguably was. So when they came back in 1940, she was in real deep trouble, wanted for murder. She (and husband and other family members) joined the Resistance and stayed out of German hands during the war by moving all over the place. After WWII she went into politics and made it to deputy minister. Not bad for a mine worker's daughter in early 20th-century France.

Her story is one of those Great War fait-divers that would make a great movie. It's a wonder no French director has ever done one on her.


  1. Fascinating -- I'm motivated to do more research on Emilienne after reading this post. Are there any memorials to her in France?

    1. This Saturday, 26th of September, the Mayor will be unveiling a plaque in her honor. It is part of the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Loos ceremony. This will take place at her house in Loos en Gohelle.

    2. Saw her memorial last week whilst check-in for the Red Dragon Crater in Loos en Gohelle. Very interesting.

  2. A story I never heard before! Thanks!

  3. She is well enough known to make it into Wikipedia; here is her article.