I chose The Storm is the true story of Second World War Resistance fighter Marie Chamming’s. This version is translated by Clare Vining.
Marie was just nineteen when she chose to join the Resistance. At first she worked in Paris as a courier, typing up letters, leaflets and attending meetings between groups of Resistance fighters. Later she moved back to her home area of Brittany and she worked alongside Parachutists brought in to work with the Maquis. Marie carried messages between groups often riding great distances on her bicycle.
This book brings to life the role of the ‘agents de liaison’ like Marie who took great risks to deliver messages, help with air drops and to hide soldiers under the noses of the enemy. Exhausted, starving and in constant fear for their lives the bravery they showed and the faith to their friends, family and country are admirable.
The book has black and white pictures, maps and letters which add to the reality of the story. While the appendices add extra interesting snippets.
Well worth reading if you are interested in war stories or are familiar with Brittany.
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THE AWARD-WINNING 1965 MEMOIR NOW PUBLISHED FOR THE FIRST TIME IN ENGLISH
In this gripping memoir of war, heartbreak, friendship and love, the author – code-name “Marie-Claire”– brings her Resistance recollections vividly to life. She was just 19 when she joined the Resistance. Knowing that she would be risking her life – and those of her family – she nonetheless chose to devote herself to the war effort, living out a terrifying, shadowy and clandestine existence.
Marie-Claire’s activities took her all over Paris and then to her home region of Brittany. There she worked tirelessly as a liaison agent in readiness for the arrival of the commandos of 4th Special Air Service (SAS), who parachuted into France in June 1944. In I Chose the Storm she provides a vivid and heart-stopping account of her narrow escapes, the watershed Battle of Saint-Marcel and its aftermath, and the vicious reprisals by the Nazis. She also recounts her burgeoning romance with George Chamming’s, an SAS radio operator whom she went on to marry at the liberation of Paris in August 1944.
Marie-Claire made friends with many of the British SAS agents who parachuted into Brittany, one of whom, Major Cary-Elwes, was charged with contacting and regrouping the Dingson base. After the war, and in his memory, Marie-Claire asked his daughter, Clare, to translate her story into English. It remains as fresh and exhilarating as the original.
This is more than a war story. It is also the story of a young woman growing up, falling in love and facing up to heart-breaking tragedy. It is a story of hope and encouragement, and above all, it is a pledge to combat extremism in every form. Now published in English for the first time, it is sure to become recognised as a classic of Second World War literature.
In 1964, Marie-Claire published her wartime memoir J’ai choisi la Tempête to wide acclaim for which she received the Prix Vérité. For her extraordinary bravery during the war, she was awarded the Ordre National du Mérite in 1972, the Légion d’Honneur in 2006 (promoted to Officier de la Légion d’honneur in 2021), together with the King’s Medal for Courage in the Cause of Freedom, the Médaille de la Résistance in 1949, and the Croix de Saint Marcel.
She died on February 15th, 2022.