Max Hastings, a British journalist and military historian, described her an “ardent warrior, possessed of an endless appetite for sensation.”
As her involvement in the war deepened, Ms. Wake was trained by the British to kill with her bare hands (she delivered a fatal karate chop to a sentry at an arms factory), parachute into enemy-held territory and work a machine gun.
She chomped on cigars and bested guerrilla fighters in drinking bouts. She traveled nowhere without her Chanel lipstick, face cream and a favorite red satin cushion.
“She is the most feminine woman I know until the fighting starts — then she is like five men,” a colleague in the French resistance once said.