Concert in aid of SSAFA to commemorate the life of Violette Szabó

The peaceful lanes of rural Herefordshire are a million miles away from the hell of Ravensbrück concentration camp, but there is a connection: Violette Szabó.

Violette Szabó (née Bushell) was an Anglo-French Special Operations Executive agent during WWII. On her second mission into occupied France, she was captured by the Nazis, interrogated, tortured, and later executed – aged 23 – at Ravensbrück concentration camp in February 1945.

She was awarded, posthumously, the George Cross (GC).

Born in France and raised in England from the age of 12, Violette spent many happy childhood days at a house called Cartref in Wormelow, Herefordshire. She revisited and stayed there in later years and during the war.

Rosemary Rigby, Violette’s aunt, moved to the house and subsequently turned it into the Violette Szabó GC Museum. The opening was supported by Tania – the daughter Violette had with her husband, Étienne (a decorated non-commissioned officer of Hungarian descent in the French Foreign Legion) – and Virginia McKenna, who portrayed Violette in the film of her life Carve Her Name with Pride. Étienne died from wounds sustained in an action against the Germans in 1942, never living to see Tania.

A concert to commemorate Violette’s life, and to remember D-Day will be held on Friday, August 2 at St Martin’s Church, Hereford between 2pm and 4pm, with proceeds going to the local branch of SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity.

SSAFA’s work in the county – a county with a rich connection to the Armed Forces – is for serving and retired personnel, and their families.

Among those taking part will be the Surrey Police Band, soprano Lauren Elizabeth Williams, Steve and Sue Mace, and the Vintage Class Singers.

Tickets are £10 on the door, and the venue is St Martin’s Church, Ross Road, Hereford, HR2 7RJ.

For more information on SSAFA’s work in the county, to volunteer or fundraise for, or to access support, search for “SSAFA Herefordshire”.

To learn more of Violette Szabó GC’s life, visit and

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