The epitaph on the headstone in the Willowbank Cemetery in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, identifies her simply as a “wife.” But dedicated community members wanted the world to know that Mona Parsons was so much more — that she was a Second World War hero.
Parsons, who was born in Middleton, Nova Scotia, in 1901, was living in the Netherlands with her Dutch first husband when German troops invaded. As part of an informal resistance, she and her husband risked their lives to save Allied airmen shot down in occupied Holland. They hid the men in their home to help them evade the Nazis, but in 1941 the scheme was discovered. Parsons was arrested and sentenced to death.
At her sentencing she accepted her fate with such unwavering certitude that the judge suggested she appeal the ruling. Ultimately, she was sentenced to life in prison camps. After four years she defied the odds and escaped.