WW2 heroine Violette Szabo's medals go to auction

Medals awarded to a second world war heroine who was tortured and ultimately murdered by the Nazis are hoped to fetch over £250,000 at auction.

Medals belonging to a Second World War heroine tortured and murdered by the Nazis are expected to fetch more than £250,000 at auction.

The George Cross and four other medals belonging to Violette Szabo, who worked for the Special Operations Executive (SOE) in occupied France, are being sold by her daughter, Tania Szabo, 73, who has no offspring to hand them on to.

The sale has sparked calls for the medals belonging to the Anglo-French undercover agent, who was executed at a concentration camp aged just 23 in 1945, to be bought for the nation.

This week Rosemary Rigby, of the Violette Szabo museum in Herefordshire, said:

She fought for us and she died for us and I would like for the medals to stay here.

Rosemary Rigby, Violette Szabo museum
She died before a Nazi firing squad at Ravensbruck concentration camp in 1945 without giving any secret to the enemy. Credit: PA Archive

Mrs Szabo was born in Paris in 1921 but her family moved to Stockwell, London. She married a French Foreign Legionnaire, Etienne Szabo, who was killed at El Alamein in North Africa before their daughter Tania was born.His death encouraged Violette to join the SOE which carried out espionage, sabotage and reconnaissance in occupied Europe during the war.

Two days after the D-Day landings, Violette was captured by the SS after running into a road block near Limoges in France. She reportedly killed several Gestapo men before collapsing, exhausted.

She endured months of torture and was shot dead at Ravensbruck concentration camp in January or February 1945.

In December 1946, she was posthumously awarded the George Cross - second only to the Victoria Cross in the honours system.

Tania, then aged four, collected it at a private investiture by King George VI at Buckingham Palace.

The lot contains the George Cross, a French Croix de Guerre and three other campaign medals, plus a parachute bag, documents and photographs, some previously unseen.

It is expected to fetch between £250,000 and £300,000 at the auction by Dix Noonan Webb in London today.