The history of SOE’s war in the shadows has been told many times and much is known about the men who fought underground. However, less is known about the women who also risked their lives for Britain and the liberation of France.By 1942 SOE (Britain’s Special Operations Executive) was in desperate need of new recruits for their dangerous missions in France and they turned to a previously unexplored group – women. These female recruits came from all levels of society and were often motivated by an idealistic love of France and a desire to play a part in its liberation. They formed SOE’s F Section. Many displayed unexpected qualities. Some proved good leaders, like Pearl Witherington, others like Nancy Wake laughed their way through the war, many others like Noor Inayat Khan showed astonishing courage through terrible privations, and many of them died bravely and painfully. Without doubt their contributions to Britain’s secret missions of intelligence-gathering and sabotage helped the resistance to drive out their occupiers and free France. Here, for the first time is the extraordinary account of all forty SOE F women agents. It is astory that deserves to be read by everyone.
Female spies are often the stuff of legend and myth. Here, for the first time, Beryl Escott tells the true story of the incredible 40 women who worked for Britain's Special Operations Executive during the Second World War. These women came from a variety of backgrounds, from Gillian Gerson a Chilean actress, to the Irish Mary Herbert, recruited for her linguistic skills, through to the famous Odette Samson—the "darling spy." She explores what made them risk their lives, even those with new-born babies, for a cause greater than themselves. She takes us on a journey through their recruitment and training into their undercover operations, as they diced with death and details their often tragic demise from death by injection to being shot in a prisoner of war camps. This is a far from glamorous picture, but a moving and gripping story that needs to be told.
Learn about Virginia Hall, the "most dangerous of all Allied spies", in this exciting narrative biography! Virginia never thought she'd be a spy. The young American had been working for the State Department overseas when she was involved in an accident that required her left leg to be amputated. Despite this setback, Hall was eager to do something to help the Allies win World War II. She made her way to Vichy, France where she helped coordinate underground resistance movements, sabotaging the Nazis at every turn. Her covert operations, including capturing 500 Germans, greatly contributed to the Allies' eventual win. In The Lady is a Spy, award-winning author Don Mitchell (The Freedom Summer Murders) explores the fascinating life of America's greatest female spy. Thoroughly researched and full of rarely seen photographs from Virginia Hall's family, this is an extraordinary, in-depth look at a true hero.
Pearl Witherington Cornioley, one of the most celebrated female World War II resistance fighters, shares her remarkable story in this firsthand account of her experience as a special agent for the British Special Operations Executive (SOE). Told through a series of reminiscences—from a difficult childhood spent in the shadow of World War I and her family’s harrowing escape from France as the Germans approached in 1940 to her recruitment and training as a special agent and the logistics of parachuting into a remote rural area of occupied France and hiding in a wheat field from enemy fire—each chapter also includes helpful opening remarks to provide context and background on the SOE and the French Resistance. With an annotated list of key figures, an appendix of original unedited interview extracts—including Pearl’s fiancé Henri’s story—and fascinating photographs and documents from Pearl’s personal collection, this memoir will captivate World War II buffs of any age.