The Characters from Madame Fourcade’s Secret War
These are some of the real historical characters featured in the Madame Fourcade’s Secret War. Move your mouse over the photos to learn more.
In 1941, Marie-Madeleine Fourcade, an elegant, beautiful mother of two, became the leader of the largest and most important spy network in wartime France, providing the Allies with a flood of top-level intelligence about the Germans, including information that proved crucial to the success of D-Day.
A former French military intelligence officer and ex-aide to Marshal Philippe Pétain, Georges Loustaunau-Lacau founded what would become the Alliance intelligence network in the fall of 1940. Known as “Navarre,” he was brilliant and reckless, with a streak of rebelliousness that got him into constant trouble. When he was captured by Vichy police in mid-1941, his deputy, Marie-Madeleine Fourcade, took his place.
A dashing, charismatic former air force pilot, Léon Faye became Marie-Madeleine Fourcade’s second in command in January 1942. Officially, she was the head, he the deputy. Unofficially, they ran Alliance together, although when they disagreed, he accepted her word as final. Both personally and professionally, no one was closer to Marie-Madeleine during the war years.
Working as a German-speaking translator for a French firm, 24-year-old Jeannie Rousseau flirted with German officers in Paris to tease out their secrets about German’s new weapons — the V1 flying bomb and the V2 rocket. The intelligence that the pretty Parisienne sent to London helped the British thwart Hitler’s plan to use these terror weapons to destroy London and prevent the D-Day landings.
The most celebrated child actor in France in the 1930s, Robert Lynen was recruited by Marie-Madeleine Fourcade as a courier in Alliance’s Marseille headquarters. While on a theatrical tour across France, he hid radio transmitters and secret documents in his costume trunk. Lynen called his clandestine work for Alliance his “finest role.”
A naval engineer at the Lorient submarine base in Brittany, Jacques Stosskopf was regarded by his countrymen as a Nazi collaborator but in fact turned out to be one of the most brilliant, audacious Allied spies of World War II. For more than three years, he provided crucial intelligence about German U-boats to Alliance and the British.
A sculptor and artist in Normandy, Robert Douin and the Alliance sector he headed were asked to provide detailed information about the German defenses on the Normandy coast in preparation for D-Day. For weeks, Douin and his teenage son bicycled up and down the coast, sketching in detail what they saw. The result was a hand-drawn, 55-foot-map, sent to London, that showed every German gun emplacement and fortification on the D-Day beaches.
Monique Bontinck was Fourcade’s young personal courier and assistant, whose demure appearance was at odds with her bold fearlessness. A British radio operator who worked with Alliance and later married Bontinck, said of her: “She performed with an icy pluck the most mind-boggling acts. She had a candid face and a childish silhouette, with her fair hair falling to her shoulders, but she also had the spirit of a secret agent ready to do anything.”