A woman who undertook multiple paratrooping missions with the Special Operations Executive (SOE) and served in the medical services of the French Resistance during the Second World War has died.

Nicola Trahan, 97, a dual-national born to a Scottish father and a French mother, fought with units from both countries during the war.

She was awarded an MBE in the United Kingdom and the Croix de Guerre and Médaille de la Reconnaissance française from France.

During her three years of service with the SOE, she participated in three nighttime missions into Nazi-occupied central France, dropping in by parachute or being dropped off in a small Westland Lysander aircraft.

Most of her missions involved Nicola acting as a courier to transmit vital important and sensitive information between different cooperating organisations of the Allied powers.

She also escorted downed Allied airmen between safe houses and guided refugees, mostly Jewish, into Switzerland.

Nicola’s SOE code name was “Teddy”, with her first mission into occupied France taking place in late 1943, when she was only 16 years old.

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After the war, Nicola settled in France for a few years, briefly studying philosophy at the Sorbonne.

She was awarded the Médaille de la Reconnaissance française (Medal of French Gratitude) in 1948 and the Croix de Guerre in 1949.

Salisbury Journal: Nicola Trahan receiving the Croix de Guerre at Les Invalides in Paris on Saturday, November 5, 1949.Nicola Trahan receiving the Croix de Guerre at Les Invalides in Paris on Saturday, November 5, 1949. (Image: Richard Essberger)

Nicola returned to the UK in the early 1950s, training as a nurse in Manchester and becoming a registered nurse in 1953. She was naturalised as a British citizen in 1957.

Nicola worked with SSAFA, the Armed Force charity, for 30 years from 1958 to 1988, serving as a health visitor.

She continued supporting the charity as a volunteer for an additional 20 years after retirement.

In 1981, Nicola moved to Orcheston, telling the Journal in a 1989 interview upon the award of her MBE that when she decided to put down roots, “it had to be an Army country, after such a long relationship with the Services”.

Nicola died on Thursday, January 18 at her home in Orcheston and her body has been donated to science. 

There will be a memorial service which will be held in honour at St Mary’s Church in Orcheston at 2pm on Thursday, March 14. Donations, if desired, to the Wiltshire Air Ambulance or Salisbury Hospice.