Rachel Millet was an independent young Englishwoman who earned a medal for bravery during World War II.
Millet, nee Howell-Evans, was a nurse at the Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital for three years before becoming a matron at a prep school. When war broke out, she joined the Mechanised Transport Corps and learned first aid, map-reading and car maintenance.
After the Fall of France, Millet was recruited as a driver and nurse of the Hadfield-Spears mobile hospital. She was sent to North Africa to aid surgeons with the 1st Division of the Free French. Though she helped out on the wards when it was busy, Millet’s main job was driving and maintaining her Ford truck.
Her unit followed the Allies to Italy, where she was asked to join a small French Commando party landing in the South of France. They arrived at night on the wrong beach, and were attacked by American bombers the next morning who thought they were Germans. She was eventually awarded the Croix de Guerre for bravery for that mission.
In 1946, she married Rene Millet, who worked in the French diplomatic service. The couple traveled to Ankara, Johannesburg and Bangkok, where she helped to start a center for the blind.
Her autobiography, “Spearette: a Memoir of the Hadfield-Spears Ambulance Unit 1940-1945,” was published in 1998.
Millet died on June 1. Cause of death was not released. She was 89.