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Last Updated: Saturday, 7 June, 2003, 15:18 GMT 16:18 UK
Honour for wartime heroine
Legion d'Honneur - Monnaie De Paris
The medal is France's highest honour
A grandmother is to receive France's top honour for her role as a schoolgirl resistance fighter during World War II.

Marguerite Garden, who smuggled documents in her books and helped Allied servicemen evade capture, was full of emotion when told she will receive the prestigious Legion d'Honneur at a ceremony in Edinburgh.

She said: "It will be very moving for me.

"When I found out, all my friends who have died passed in front of me and the events of 50 to 60 years ago came back to me.

"I nearly burst into tears."

The most difficult thing was to be completely silent

Marguerite Garden

The 77-year-old, who now lives in Lanark, in Scotland, will be presented with the Legion d'Honneur -already bestowed upon her father - later this year.

From the age of 14 she assisted in the fight against the Nazis in her native France.

She organised escape routes for hundreds of people who faced arrest.

Mrs Garden checked the coastline for mines, helped to ensure Allied maps were accurate and passed messages between her home in Brittany and Paris.

She had to work alone when her father was forced to flee the Gestapo.

'Never arrested'

Mrs Garden said she could never tell her classmates what she was up to.

She said: "The most difficult thing was to be completely silent.

"I could not let them know what I was doing. It was a matter of life or death. But there was no reason to suspect me.

"I was a young girl travelling to school and I was never arrested."

Mrs Garden moved to Scotland after she married her late husband James in 1948 and they had seven children.

She was recommended for the award by French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin.


WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC Scotland's Jamie McIvor
"Her home is a testament to her wartime bravery"



SEE ALSO:
Quincy Jones gets French honour
27 Mar 01  |  Entertainment
French honour politicians
09 Dec 99  |  Northern Ireland


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