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Violette Morris: An Astonishing Tale

Updated on October 20, 2015

Violette Morris - sportswoman

I wrote recently about the French dancer and racing driver Helle Nice, and she always remembered her first race where she first came across the rather fearsome Violette Morris.

As you can see from the photograph above, Violette was almost the opposite of the small, feminine and fun-loving Helle. 

If the name is not familiar to you, and today only a handful of motorsport historians know about her for reasons which will become obvious, then you'll be surprised about how she met her end.

Furthermore, that rather noticeable (you can't miss them) pair of bazonkas came to a strange end too - and not at the same time as their owner. Intrigued? Well, this is a strange story...

Read about Helle Nice


She is not showcasing her underwear here. This photograph, from 1913, shows her athletic outfit and athletic she certainly was.

She took part in almost every physical sport you can imagine. This included soccer, weightlifting and boxing. But she tried her hand at mechanical sports too - flying, motorbike racing and of course, circuit car racing. She looks formidable and not the sort of person you'd want to argue with, that's for sure.

It seemed that she feared nothing and during the Great War she worked as a nurse and a courier in the thick of the action. 

She was, as you can see, a rather large and well-endowed girl and incredibly strong. She excelled at sports that required that element of physical strength such as shot putt. Racing the heavy cars of the day were no problem to her and her great strength apart from one thing. 

Read on.

Look at the photograph again. She might seem to be smiling pleasantly but look at those eyes. Can't you detect something? Something a little ruthless? That smiling girl is quite scary to me and quite rightly, as we shall see.


She made no secret of the fact that she was a lesbian and preferred to dress as a man. She smoked and cursed with enthusiasm. The sporting officials weren't completely happy about that.

But Violette, if she is remembered at all, it is as -

- the woman racing driver who had her breasts removed - voluntarily.

As the owner of what my racing hero dad always refers to as 'a pair of poached eggs', I can't imagine how inconvenient those huge bazonkas must have been, especially for a racing driver.

She thought so too and in February 1929, she decided to have the things removed. True.

I have known many racing drivers, I was brought up in racing family. I know about the sacrifices that many go to. But nevertheless...

But racing drivers are ideally small. Those cockpits are tight. And particularly in days gone by, freedom of arm movement was essential. But nevertheless...

(Sidenote: I have never seen this suggested anywhere but couldn't it be possible that she actually had a double mastectomy for medical - or even cross-dressing - reasons but chose to say that it was for racing reasons? But nevertheless...)

Although Violette was not in favour with the French sporting authorities, those in neighbouring Germany thought otherwise and invited her to the 1936 Olympic Games. This must have boosted her ego considerably because everyone in her home country seemed to disapprove of her lifestyle.


The Second World War

I don't understand Dutch (if that's what it is) but I wanted to include this so you can see more images of the lady in question - seemingly now sans poitrine.

Racing ground to a halt during the Second World War. Some drivers in Europe fled to America if they had the means. Many served in the military, often heroically. 

Of the women, some went to drive ambulances or supply trucks. Others nursed or generally contributed to the war effort. Violette was different.

Ever since the Olympics in 1936 she had been a Nazi supporter. 

She became a secret agent working for the Nazis and some say, a torturer. Living on a barge in Paris, she was given the job of infiltrating the French Resistance who were working under cover against the Germans who were occupying France.

This couldn't last. In 1944,on April 29th, she was driving down a country lane - on what sort of mission we may never know - where her car was stopped by five members of the French Resistance.

They opened fire with sub-machine guns and riddled her body with bullets.


Check out these fascinating books.

Bugatti Queen: In Search of a French Racing Legend
Bugatti Queen: In Search of a French Racing Legend

I mentioned Helle Nice above and this book about her life (non-fiction) is highly recommended.She was also a French racing driver but that's where any similarity ends.

Helle had an extravagant lifestyle (she started her career as a nude model) and many lovers.Find out from this book how it was that she died penniless and unknown.

Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932: A Novel
Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932: A Novel

Who was Lou Villars? She is the partly-fictional version of Violette Morris.

The author was originally intrigued by a 1930s photograph of two lesbians. Further investigation showed that the 'man' in the photograph was Violette.

The author intended to write a factual account of Morris' life but decided ultimately to make it into a work of fiction. It's an excellent study of life in Paris in those days and is fine read.


All images copyright free from Wikimedia Commons

Don't you think this is an amazing story? Wouldn't it make the most amazing film?

(Dear Movie Company, if you like the suggestion, please credit me - financially - with the idea!)

© 2014 Jackie Jackson


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    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Ecogranny - ha! A good way of putting it :)

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 

      4 years ago from San Francisco

      Fascinating story, and yes, I can see it as a movie. So Bonnie, without the Clyde.

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @ Adventuretravels - isn't it the strangest story? As you say, stories about women deserve much more exposure. I'm trying my best by writing about them :)

    • Adventuretravels profile image


      4 years ago from UK

      Never heard of this girl before! Well what can I say - why are women so under represented in our history books! Great hub very interesting.

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @GrammieOlivia - I'm so glad that you enjoyed learning for about her. What a very strange life she had.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Sharing the last name made me wonder about this "woman". Suffice it to say that yes, she had an incredible life. Would I like to meet her....I don't think so! Great story and as everyone else has said, it would make a great movie. All the intrigue, espionage, and everything else too!

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @ChrylsArt - I hope so too! It really is an amazing story,isn't it?

    • CherylsArt profile image

      Cheryl Paton 

      4 years ago from West Virginia

      Interesting story. If anyone makes a movie out of it, I hope that they do credit you financially. : )

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @bravewarrior - isn't she scary? She must have been excellent at her last job. I certainly wouldn't like to meet her on a dark night!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      5 years ago from Central Florida

      What a bizarre person, Jackie. I'm sure if it had been available back then she would have had a sex change.

      You're right about the eyes. They're pretty wicked if you ask me!

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      Thanks Merrci! The world, especially Europe, keeps supplying me with all these weird people :)

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 

      5 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      Another very interesting character. I am beginning to wonder how you find time to read about these unique souls! Sad ending, but definitely dramatic.

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Virginia Allain: Wasn't she? The book, although fictional to some extent, is truly fascinating.

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @AcornOakForest: I would really love to know even more about her.

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Ibidii: Isn't it a fascinating story?

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Brite-Ideas: I love to discover these stories.There's so much 'hidden' history!

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      5 years ago from Central Florida

      What an unusual woman and certainly for that time.

    • AcornOakForest profile image

      Monica Lobenstein 

      5 years ago from Western Wisconsin

      She's fascinating! Your lens really makes me want to get into her head, ask her questions. I wish there were more answers, but even without them, it is pretty impressive how she didn't give in to anyone's ideas of what a woman "should" be.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I had not heard of her before I saw her name in the lens about Helle Nice. Informative lens!

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 

      5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      my gawd what a story this lady had! very very interesting! and I agree with Nancy, this would make a terrific movie - you had me from beginning to end on this one!

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Nancy Hardin: It has all the ingredients to make an incredible film, doesn't it?

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 

      5 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Britflorida, This would make an incredible movie. All the history from racing, the Nazis, the World War, etc., it's all there, plus the history of being a Lesbian in an age where it was frowned upon much worse than today. Dynamite story! Thanks for sharing.


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