ANNA'S GRANDFATHER & THE FRENCH RESISTANCE
Anna's paternal grandfather, Phillip Fargher, was a pilot in the RAF during WWII. When his Spitfire was shot down over Brittany in 1944, he was rescued by villagers fighting with the French Resistance. His daring escape from Nazi occupied France inspired The Umbrella Mouse, an animal French Resistance story.
REAL LIFE LEADER OF THE FRENCH RESISTANCE GROUP, 'NOAH'S ARK'
Marie-Madeleline Fourcade was the only woman to head a significant resistance network in France during WWII, but she is not well known. Her group 'The Alliance' earned the Gestapo given nickname 'Noah's Ark' because Fourcade assigned her members animal codenames. Hers was 'Hedgehog' and she appears in The Umbrella Mouse in this form alongside other real life members of Noah's Ark.
On reading Fourcade's memoir, Noah's Ark, Anna was so impressed by her story, she wrote The Umbrella Mouse in the hope that Fourcade and Noah's Ark would be remembered.
SECOND IN COMMAND OF NOAH'S ARK
Léon Faye was the former deputy chief of the French air-force in North Africa before becoming an important member of the French Resistance. He was Marie-Madeline Fourcade's closest ally and the second in command of Noah's Ark. His codename was 'Eagle' and he appears in The Umbrella Mouse in this way.
THE DICKIN MEDAL
Real life search and rescue dog, Rip, (who appears as Dickin in The Umbrella Mouse) with his handler Mr. King who said: "Official dogs are now trained for this kind of work, but Rip was the first dog to locate trapped persons." He was awarded the Dickin Medal in 1945.
American messenger pigeon G.I. Joe is another key character in The Umbrella Mouse who was inspired by the real American messenger pigeon, G.I. Joe. He was awarded the Dickin Medal in 1946 for saving the lives of at least 1,000 men of the 56th Division by delivering an important message to Allied troops.
FOUNDING MEMBER OF THE NON-VIOLENT RESISTANCE GROUP
'THE WHITE ROSE'
Hans Scholl was a founding member of 'The White Rose', an intellectual and a non-violent German resistance group that operated in Munich. He appears in The Umbrella Mouse as a rat.
Dickin, Hans and Pip with GI Joe and Churchill's Secret Animal Army
JAMES SMITH & SONS UMBRELLAS, LONDON
You can find real life James Smith & Sons umbrella shop on New Oxford Street in central London. It has hardly changed since 1857 and its Victorian frontage is a typical of the era. When you step inside it's like going back in time.
It was not destroyed during WWII. Its sister shop in Burlington Street was struck in a bombing raid, leaving the New Oxford Street as its only premises.
...AND THE UMBRELLA MUSEUM IN ITALY
PIP IS TRYING TO FIND
Museo del Ombrello, Gignese, Italy