|Birth name||Valentine Blanche Charlet|
|Nickname(s)||Agent Japonica & Ventriloquist|
23 May 1898|
Westminster, London, England
1985 (aged 87)|
Camden, London, England
Special Operations Executive|
|Years of service||1942–1944|
|Rank||Field Agent and Guerrilla Commander|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
|Awards||Member of the Order of the British Empire|
Valentine Blanche Charlet MBE (1898–1985) was a member of the Women's Transport Service who served with the Special Operations Executive (SOE) during World War II and worked as a courier for the French Section.
On 24 October 1942 German D/F (detector) vans picked up Stonehouse's radio signals while he was transmitting to London. They tracked him down to his safe house and arrested him. Before the Germans left, Charlet arrived for a pre-arranged meeting with Stonehouse and she too was arrested by the Milice in Chateau Hurlevent near Lyon, 69.
In November 1942 she was interned in Castres Prison for her SOE activities. In September 1943 she found a sympathetic wardress and got hold of pistols and spare keys and took part in a mass break-out with French resistante Suzanne Charisse. Blanche and Suzanne reached open country and, helped by a local farmer, took refuge in a Benedictine monastery. There they sheltered in a guest house for two months before the monks took them to the escape line in the Pyrénées, but as it was winter heavy snow stopped them from crossing to Spain.
In April 1944 a message from Blanche reached the SOE Headquarters in Baker Street and a pick-up was arranged from Brittany. From there she crossed the channel back to Britain.
Honours and awards
|Member of the Order of the British Empire||1939–1945 Star||France and Germany Star||War Medal|
- General Register Office index of births registered in July, August and September 1898 – Name: Charlet, Valentine Blanche. District: Westminster Volume: 1A Page: 501.
- General Register Office index of deaths registered in October 1985 – Name: Charlet, Valentine Blanche. Birth Date: 23 May 1898. District: Camden. Volume: 14 Page: 1777.
- M. R. D. Foot, SOE in France. An Account of the Work of the British Special Operations Executive in France 1940-1944, London, 1966.
- Liane Jones, A Quiet Courage: Women Agents in the French Resistance, London, Transworld Publishers Ltd, 1990. ISBN 0-593-01663-7
- "No. 37473". The London Gazette (Supplement). 19 February 1946. p. 1015.