Micheline Glover, 76, a Bold Figure in the French Resistance
By William H. Honan, , April 24, 2000
Micheline Glover, who as an 18-year-old girl worked for the French Resistance during World War II, delivering secret messages under the eyes of unwitting German soldiers, died April 15, 2000 in White Plains Hospital in White Plains, N.Y. She was 76.
Mrs. Glover, who was born in Paris, received a citation after the war from Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower for one of her activities in the Resistance -- rescuing Allied airmen shot down by the Nazis.
She recalled in a privately published memoir that she was first drawn to the Resistance -- the clandestine underground that sought to disrupt the German occupation of France -- when at age 16 she joined a student protest march in Paris. German troops fired on the students with machine guns, killing several.
Two years later, after Mrs. Glover had moved with her family to Montluçon, she discovered that her English tutor was in the Resistance, and she asked him whether she could do something "to help our cause."
Soon Mrs. Glover became a courier for Pierre Kaan, a philosophy professor who was a major figure in the Resistance. Professor Kaan, who was Jewish, was eventually captured and killed in a Nazi death camp.
Mrs. Glover's first assignments were riding trains throughout the country, carrying secret messages taped to her back. In this work, she seems to have had nerves of steel.
Once, the train in which she was riding came to a sudden halt. She and the other passengers were told to leave the train to have their identification papers checked. Mrs. Glover's papers were found to be unacceptable, and she was instructed to stand aside while other passengers were checked and questioned. She followed orders, but when the passengers with acceptable identification papers were told to return to the train, Mrs. Glover slipped away from her forgetful guard and quietly boarded the train as it pulled out of the station.
On one occasion, she recalled in her memoir, she sat in a cafe filled with German soldiers and passed messages to her contact, sipping a glass of wine.
Another time, in still another cafe filled with enemy soldiers, her contact whispered a desperate request to her to help him repair the package he was carrying. She did his bidding, but not without first discovering that the package contained a deflated rubber raft destined for some secret mission.
A more elaborate and perhaps even more dangerous mission involved photographing the damage sustained by a large tire factory that had been bombed by American aircraft.
She could not afford to be caught prowling a factory that produced strategic war materials, but in the rubble she came upon two American airmen who had been shot down in the attack. Somehow, she would have to spirit them out of the country. She procured a couple of bicycles for the airmen to ride by night, only to discover that neither knew how to ride a bicycle.
"I was very glad we did not meet any German patrols on our way," she wrote.
One of the airmen was later killed; the other escaped.
Mrs. Glover finished the war as an interpreter and was awarded a medal of honor from the French government.
She met her husband, Garlan Glover, at a Red Cross dance in Paris. The couple married and moved to White Plains in 1955. Mrs. Glover then devoted herself to raising a family.
Micheline Blum-Picard was born in Paris, the daughter of a French government official. She attended school in Montluçon.
In addition to her husband, Mrs. Glover is survived by a daughter, Christiane, of Ossining, N.Y.; four sons, Derek of Ridgefield, Conn., Brian of White Plains, Renny of Boulder, Colo., and Wayne of North White Plains; and six grandchildren.
Mrs. Glover recalled that in her Resistance work, after she received word that Allied forces were about to land on the Normandy coast, she asked to take part in the fighting. Her superiors decided that she could not be allowed to serve as a combat soldier, but rather as a nurse.
Nevertheless, she got her way. Even as a nurse, she was permitted to carry a rifle, a pistol and a hand grenade. She recalled that she fired repeatedly once the landings began, but could not be certain whether she hit anyone.
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© 2000 by Neil Mishalov