Memorial to Damerment and fellow agents in Dachau
|Nickname(s)||Agent Bricklayer, Solange|
11 November 1917|
|Died||13 September 1944
Dachau Concentration Camp, Germany
|Allegiance||United Kingdom, France|
|Service/branch||Special Operations Executive, French Resistance|
|Years of service||1944|
|Rank||Field agent and guerrilla commander|
|Commands held||SOE F Section networks#Bricklayer|
|Awards||Légion d'honneur, Croix de Guerre, Médaille de la Résistance|
Madeleine Damerment was born in Lille, the daughter of the Headpostmaster of Lille; following the occupation of France by the Germans in World War II, her family became actively involved with the French Resistance. The unassuming twenty-two-year-old Madeleine worked as an assistant to Michael Trotobas on the escape line set up by Albert Guérisse. She helped downed British airmen and others to escape France until 1942, when it is believed that one of her fellow resistance workers, Harold Cole, betrayed the group and she had to flee to England.
Special Operations Executive
Once in England, Damerment volunteered to work with the Special Operations Executive (SOE). Trained to be a courier for the "Bricklayer" network, on the night of 28 February 1944, she and agents France Antelme and Lionel Lee were parachuted into a field near the city of Chartres in France. However, they had been betrayed and the waiting Gestapo arrested them on landing. Shipped to Gestapo headquarters on the Avenue Foch in Paris, Damerment was subjected to examination and torture. On 12 May 1944 she was sent with several other captured SOE agents to the civilian prison for women at Karlsruhe in Germany. She was held there under horrific conditions until 11 September when she was abruptly transferred to Dachau concentration camp with fellow agents Eliane Plewman, Yolande Beekman and Noor Inayat Khan.
At dawn on 13 September 1944, the day after their arrival in Dachau, the four young women were taken to a small courtyard next to the crematorium and forced to kneel on the ground. They were then executed by a shot through the back of the head and their bodies cremated.
Honours and awards
Following the end of the War, Madeleine Damerment's valiant contribution to freedom was recognized by her government with the posthumous awarding of the Legion of Honor, Croix de Guerre, and the Médaille de la Résistance and by the British King's Commendation for Brave Conduct. She is recorded on the Brookwood Memorial in Surrey, England and as one of the SOE agents who died for the liberation of France, she is listed on the "Roll of Honor" on the Valençay SOE Memorial in the town of Valençay, in the Indre département of France. There is also a plaque on the south wall of the crematorium at the former Dachau concentration camp, where the four SOE agents shot are remembered.