Women of Valor:
the Rochambelles on the WWII Front
The Rochambeau Group of ambulance drivers was formed in New York, trained in North Africa, and transported to Normandy to serve under General Patton in August 1944. Their story is brought to light for the first time in Women of Valor: the Rochambelles on the WWII Front (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2006). Women of Valor bears witness not only to their unflinching courage and extraordinary sense of duty, but also to the camaraderie that grew between the women and their fellow soldiers. Organized in New York by Florence Conrad, a wealthy American widow determined to create a female ambulance corps, the “Rochambelles”, as they became known, also were the first women’s unit to be part of an armored division. Some of them had been proper young ladies stranded abroad by the German invasion of France; others had scaled the Pyrénées by night to escape the Nazi occupation. All of them had a deep desire to help liberate their nation, and if they couldn’t fight, driving an ambulance would be the next best thing.
“Well-written, thoroughly researched and quite engaging…” Sarah Eppler Janda, Cameron University, in Minerva Journal of Women and War.
“Ellen Hampton’s account of their often narrow escapes and extrordinary experiences is a story not to be missed […] She brings vividly to life the women she writes about. Her book is hard to put down.” Charles L. Robertson, Cercles Revue.