World War 2 Stories for Sheffield

                       Ashley Howard 

Grace Howard’s Story

By Actiondesk Sheffield

People in story: Grace Howard, Messieur Hubert
Location of story: Paris, France
Background to story: Civilian


Grace Howard’s Story

Ashley K Howard

Let me tell you story of Grace Howard (my aunty) who was born July 31, 1897 in Hull, East Yorkshire. I have never known the full story of how she finished living in France, but she did.

Not only that but she married a Frenchman, Monsieur Hubert who was not just any run of the mill Frenchman but a man who during the 2nd world war was the chief of police in Paris.

Fortunately for my Aunty Grace, her French was so good that the German officers never knew she was English, which was just as well because as her husband was chief of police, they where always calling round at their house to sort out civil matters with him.

This was a constant source of trouble because Grace was with the French Resistance helping get Allied solders/airmen back home. The last thing she wanted was to have a house full of German officers when the Resistance called round so a plan had to be put in to operation.

When ever the Germans called round, she would pour them a glass of wine - nothing unusual about this so the Germans never gave it a thought. The first thing she did was to wash the glasses just like a polite host, then pour the drink and, in typical French manner, hang the tea towel over the balcony. Again nothing unusual about this, so no one ever gave it a second thought.

However, if the Resistance saw the tea towel on the balcony, they knew that it was not safe to approach the house and went away.

If there was no tea towel it was safe to tell her any news they had, also it gave her a chance to pass on news that she had picked-up from the Germans who never knew who they where talking to!!

After the war, she told my dad what she had done and he told the story to me, and now I have the chance to not only pass the story on, but to have it recorded for posterity.