Pearl Witherington


Pearl Witherington was one of the girls who got away.

Born in France to British parents, Pearl fled with her family back to England when the Nazis invaded France. However she returned in 1943 under the service of SOE, parachuting into the country and joining with the local Maquis Resistance fighters.

Using the codename “Marie” (and later “Pauline”), she did everything from engaging in guerrilla warfare with the Nazis, to disrupting their train transportation hundreds of times, to attacking the German Army on D-Day to help American and British efforts.

What was the Nazis’ response? They put a $1,000,000 bounty on her head, and sent 2,000 troops to attack her Resistance fighters network.

But Pearl wasn’t having that, because she and Henri Cornioley (who was also on assignment with her) wanted to get married. Pearl evaded capture and eventually presided over the surrender of 18,000 German troops.

She made it back to England to marry Henri in September 1944, and lived till the ripe age of 93.


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