On Saturday evening, as part of the Informed Choice sponsored Cranleigh Literary Festival, I attended a talk about WWII heroine Violette Szabo.

Her daughter Tania spoke for more than an hour about the life of her mother Violette, who was the subject of the book and subsequent 1958 film Carve Her Name With Pride, starring Virginia McKenna.

The story of Violette Szabo is incredible.

Born in Paris in 1921 to a French mother and English father, Violette returned to London and married French Foreign Legionnaire, Etienne Szabo close to the start of the War.

Etienne was killed in North Africa and, expecting her first child with him, Violette joined the Special Operations Executive (SOE), initially training at Winterfold House in Cranleigh.

It was during her second mission in occupied France that Violette was captured by the SS, after running into a road block close to Limoges.

She was subsequently executed at Ravensbruck concentration camp in January or February 1945.

Hearing her daughter Tania share this story, I initially couldn't understand how a parent could leave their young child behind to become a secret agent.

Was her desire for vengeance following the death of her new husband really more important than being a mother to a new baby? What did her daughter now think of her mother's decision to take on such dangerous missions?

Of course we must all follow our own path in life. 

Violette did what she believed was right; fighting to protect her countries, Britain and France, and her family, which of course included her new daughter.

There was nothing selfish in this decision, which was made for all of the right reasons, and encapsulated her bravery in face of such difficult circumstances.