The_Real_Charlie's_Angels

WARNING ██████████ DANGEROUS INDIVIDUALS FOUND IN █████████. ██████████████████████████ CHARLIE’S ANGELS ██████████ RETURNED TO ACTION. ███████ ARMED AND DANGEROUS. 

██████████████ ███████ LARGE SPY NETWORK, ██████████ OVER 200 YEARS. ███████ AFFILIATED ████ 13 REAL FEMALE SPIES AND AGENTS, ████████████ NEW ZEALAND ████████ THE USA. ███████████████ READ THEIR PROFILES █████████ LEARN THEIR TACTICS. ██████████ PREPARE YOURSELF. STAY SAFE.

Case #09BH7
Christine Granville

Christine Granville

Real Name: Maria Krystyna Janina Skarbek

Date of Birth: 01.05.1908

Birthplace: Warsaw, Poland

Cause of Death: Stabbed out of jealousy

Languages: Polish, English, French

Codenames: Madame Pauline

Awards: George Medal, OBE, 1939-1945 Star, Africa Star, Italy Star, France and Germany Star, War Medal, Croix de Guerre

Danger Level:

3/5

History

Described as irresistible and utterly capable by all who met her, Krystyna was a British Special Operations Executive during World War II and a known favourite of Winston Churchill himself. 

Krystyna – who went by Christine Granville – was well known for her self-assuredness, a trait she had carried since birth. Despite growing up in wealth as the child of Count Jerzy Skarbek, Krystyna was far more inclined to muck in and live an unpretentious life. She was somewhat of a “tomboy”, preferring to ride astride rather than side-saddle as other ladies of her calibre were expected to. 

In adulthood, Krystyna lost her father and their family fell upon hard times, leading her to take up a job at a car dealership to provide for her and her mother. However, her health declined due to exposure to the car fumes and upon recommendations from her Doctor, Krystyna moved to the mountains to take up hiking and skiing to clear her lungs.

It was there that she would meet her future husband on a ski slope in the late 1930s, with whom she travelled to London with upon the outbreak of WWII, where Krystyna became Britain’s first female special agent.

Krystyna’s missions usually comprised of taking messages into Nazi-occupied countries, ferrying propaganda and freeing captured soldiers wherever she could.

Known Operations:

• Krystyna once cleverly feigned Tuberculosis by biting her tongue until it bled whilst under arrest by the Gestapo in 1941, earning both her and fellow SOE agent Andrzej Kowerski their freedom 

• Organised a system of Polish couriers who moved intelligence reports between Warsaw and Budapest

• Posed as the niece of a British General and bargained with the Gestapo to rescue captured agents

• Frequently used her beguiling nature to talk her (and other agents) out of tight spots

• Would sew knives into the hems of her skirts

• Rumoured to be the inspiration for ‘Vesper Lynd’ in Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale

History

Mata Hari was a very well-known courtesan across Europe during the early 1900s, having worked as an exotic dancer across the continent for a long time building a huge network of contacts. 

Her reputation as a femme fatale had allowed Mata Hari to cultivate relationships with a variety of political and military figures, something she saw could be utilised when WWI broke out. 

At 18, Mata Hari married a Dutch Colonial Army Captain and moved with him to the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) to start a family. However, due to his abusive nature, Mata Hari preferred to spend more time away from home and immersed herself in the local culture. She studied Indonesian traditions and joined a local dance company, adopting the Malay word for “sun” as her name – Mata Hari

She returned to the Netherlands and divorced her husband following their loveless relationship, and started working as a performer – at first as a circus horse rider and artist’s model. By 1904, Margaretha had found success as an exotic dancer, earning notoriety after a particularly daring and flirtatious performance at the Musée Guimet in 1905 – quickly making her an overnight sensation. Her freedom with her body and provocative routines became famous across Europe, sparking a copycat trend by 1910.

As the Netherlands remained neutral during the war, Mata Hari could travel freely across Europe, however when her lover, Captain Vadim Maslov of the Russian Expeditionary Force, was wounded near the frontline in 1916, Mata Hari made a deal with the French to spy for them in order to visit him.

Before the war, Mata Hari had performed many times for the Crown Prince Wilhelm of Germany, and the French asked her to return and try to seduce him and learn of German Plans – unaware that the Crown Prince barely had anything to do with official decisions. Later that year, Mata Hari supposedly offered to share French secrets with Germany in exchange for money, although it remains unclear if it was for personal gain or an attempt to get close with the Crown Prince. 

In 1917, the French intercepted radio transmissions from Berlin that supposedly disclosed the activities of a particularly helpful Agent H-21 whose description matched Mata Hari perfectly. She was subsequently arrested and put to trial for being a double agent. Her sentence was death by firing squad, and Mata Hari refused to wear a blindfold and faced them without flinching.

Many today are unsure whether she was actually guilty or used as a scapegoat for French military failures, largely due to the intercepted German messages used as evidence being written in a code that German Intelligence knew had already been broken by the French.

Case #JB435
Mata Hari

Real Name: Margaretha Geertruida Zelle

Date of Birth: 07.08.1876

Birthplace: Leeuwarden, Netherlands

Cause of Death: Execution by firing squad

Languages: Dutch, French, German, English, Malay*

Danger Level:

1/5

Case #Y7G47
Noor Inayat Khan

Noor Inayat Khan

Real Name: Noor-un-Nissa Inayat Khan

Date of Birth: 01.01.1914

Birthplace: Moscow, Russian Empire

Cause of Death: Executed by the Gestapo

Languages: English, French

Codenames: Nora Baker, Madeleine, Nurse, Jeanne-Marie Renier

Awards: George Cross, 1939-1945 Star, France and Germany Star, War Medal, Croix de Guerre

Danger Level:

2/5

History

Noor Inayat Kahn was the first British Indian spy and a famed member of the British Special Operations Executive for her actions during WWII.

Noor came from a Noble Indian Muslim family, her father a travelling musician who had ventured across Europe and the States performing, settling in Moscow to have Noor. 

After WWI broke out, her family moved to London, where she grew up fostering a passion for child psychology and writing. By adulthood, Noor had begun publishing her own children’s books under the name ‘Nora Baker’.

In 1940, she joined the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force and was trained as a wireless operator, eventually earning the attention of the SOE who recruited in 1943. She then became the first woman to be sent to the Air Ministry for special training as a wireless operator in the field. 

Initially, there were many doubts about Noor’s calm and pacificist nature being suited to the job. Wireless Operators would be holed up in remote locations for days on end, communicating between other field agents and London, dodging detection and protecting heavy transmission equipment, ready to move at a moment’s notice. It was a long and lonesome job with a life expectancy of just 6 weeks, but Noor defeated all expectations and exhibited a natural aptitude for the position.  

Capture and Imprisonment:

In 1943, Noor was betrayed to the Germans by a fellow SOE officer working as a double agent, although some believe it was the sister of Noor’s commanding officer who believed Noor had stolen her lover. 

The Gestapo captured her and used Noor’s personal documents to trick London into sending more agents, who were then also captured. 

Whilst imprisoned, Noor attempted to escape twice and was tortured for information frequently. She kept her calm and didn’t hand over a shred of information, lying consistently in order to confuse her captors. 

One night, Noor was abruptly transferred to another concentration camp with three other female agents, where they were lined up and executed by a shot through the back of the head.

Her last word was reported to have been “Liberté“. 

History

Few could strike fear into the hearts of the Gestapo as Virginia Hall did, an America agent in Nazi-occupied France. She was touted as the “most dangerous of all Allied spies”, working with the British Special Operative Executive and the America Office of Strategic Services to organise spy networks, gather intelligence and help rescue prisoners of war.

Her skills in espionage and earned her significant infamy among the Gestapo, who would plaster up wanted posters for “The Limping Lady” due to her prosthetic leg that she affectionately called Cuthbert. 

After finishing her studies, Virginia travelled and worked around Europe until the beginning of WWII, where she joined the Ambulance Service in Paris. By the time France fell, her natural talent for languages and adventure had led her to volunteer for the SOE, who planted her in Vichy-controlled France to help coordinate the French Resistance under the guise of a New York Post correspondent. 

When Germany suddenly seized all of France in 1942, they made a record number of arrests and Virginia knew she had to make a quick escape. She narrowly avoided pursuers by taking a train from Lyon to Perpignan, then walked over 7500-foot pass in the Pyrenees to Spain covering up to 50 miles over two days… all with her prosthetic leg (although she did mention that it gave her significant trouble).

In 1945, Virginia was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross personally by the OSS General William Joseph Donovan, making her the only civilian woman to earn one WWII. She continued to work for the CIA until retiring at the age of 60 .

Known Operations:

• Mapped drop zones for supplies and commandos, found safe houses

• Trained three battalions of resistance forces in guerilla warfare

• Once posed as an elder goat herder to avoid detection from the Gestapo

Case #8HY7F
Virginia Hall

Virginia Hall

Real Name: Virginia Hall

Date of Birth: 06.04.1906

Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland

Cause of Death: Natural Causes

Languages: English, French, Italian, German

Codenames: Marie Monin, Germaine, Diane, Marie of Lyon, Camille, Nicolas, Artemis 

Awards: Distinguished Service Cross, MBE, Croix de Guerre

Danger Level:

5/5

Case #YF9S9
Nancy Wake

Nancy Wake

Real Name: Nancy Grace Augusta Wake

Date of Birth: 30.08.1912

Birthplace: Wellington, New Zealand

Cause of Death: Natural causes

Languages: English, French

Codenames: Hélène, Andrée, White Mouse

Awards: Companion of the Order of Australia, George Medal, Legion of Honour, 1939-1945 Star & more

Danger Level:

3/5

History

Passionate and extremely motivated to live life her way from a young age, Nancy Wake ran away from her home in New Zealand at age 16, making her to way to London via New York City.

There, she trained herself as a journalist and began to work as a European correspondent for Hearts Newspapers in Paris. She witnessed the rise of the Nazi movement and Adolf Hitler, seeing gangs of Nazis roam the streets of places like Vienna, beating innocent Jewish people. The horrors Nancy saw made her make a promise to herself, “if ever the opportunity arose, [she] would do everything [she] could” to stop the Nazi movement. Her “hatred of the Nazis was very, very deep”

In 1940, after the fall of France to Germany, Nancy joined the Pat O’Leary Line – a resistance organisation that helped Allied soldiers and airmen evade capture and escape back to the UK.

Nancy’s job was as a courier, utilising her ability to evade the Gestapo to transfer important messages. Her life was in constant danger as they were keeping a close eye on her at all times, tapping her telephone and intercepting her mail. 

Soon though, the Germans managed to get a hold of her operations and she was forced to escape to the UK through Spain, although her husband was captured and executed. 

Back in the UK, she continued to work for the SOE under the codename Hélène

I don’t see why we women should just wave our men a proud goodbye and then knit them balaclavas.

 – Nancy Wake

Known Operations: 

• Parachuted into France, collecting and hiding night parachute drops of weapons and ammunition in storage caches for the advancing armies

• Participated in a battle between the Germans and the maquis in 1944

• Cycled over 500km in just 72 hours to send a situation report to SOE in London afterwards

• Was renowned for her ability to evade capture, so much so that the Gestapo nicknamed her the White Mouse

• Saved hundreds of soldiers by escorting them through occupied France to safety

• Established communications lines between the British military and French Resistance that were crucial in weakening German strength

History

Model. Media personality. Spy. Anna Chapman made global headlines in 2010 when she was arrested in the US as part of the Illegals Program spy ring, skyrocketing her and her mugshot into infamy.

Anna was part of a network of Russian sleeper agents under non-official cover, planted by the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service to pose as ordinary American citizens and build contacts with academics, industrialist and policymakers together intelligence.

Not much is known about how she came to work as an agent for the Russian Federation, but she was remarkably gifted with charisma from a young age, as well as having a foot in the door so to speak due to her father being a senior KGB official.

Anna graduated from Moscow University with a master’s degree in economics and was living in the UK in 2001, where she met her future husband Alex Chapman and secured British citizenship, working at various companies around London including NetJets and Barclays. Some reports state that it was around this time that she was recruited.  

In 2009, Anna moved to New York and began selling international real estate online – this is where her true spy work began.

The FBI caught wind of the Illegals Program and began to investigate it, drawing her out with an undercover agent posing as her handler. He invited her to meet at a Manhattan coffee shop, giving her a set of instructions for a mission that diverged from what she was usually asked to do.

Suspicions raised, Anna was unsure of how to react and ended up calling her father for advice, and following his recommendations, she binned the orders. However, the FBI managed to track her calls and arrester her shortly after. 

After being formally charged with ‘Conspiracy to act as an unlawful agent of a foreign government’, Anna became part of the biggest spy swap deal of its kind between the US and Russia since 1986. 

Since her arrest, Anna Chapman has become a celebrity in Russia, appearing on magazine covers, red carpets and runways ever since. 

Case #HMA77
Anna Chapman

Anna Chapman

Real Name: Anna Vasil’yevna Kushchyenko

Date of Birth: 23.02.1982

Birthplace: Volgograd, Soviet Union

Languages: English, Russian

Danger Level:

1/5

Case #9D9E8
Josephine Baker

Josephine Baker

Real Name: Freda Josephine McDonald

Date of Birth: 03.06.1906

Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri, USA

Cause of Death: Natural Causes

Languages: English, French

Awards: Legion of Honour

Danger Level:

1/5

History

Entertainer Extraordinaire Josephine Baker delighted audiences across Europe, becoming famous for her daring performances and impassioned activism, but few know of her dalliances as a spy during World War II. 

Josephine began her career dancing on street-corners, soon joining a street performance troupe and heading off to New York. It was there that her career began to gain some traction, becoming a well-known performer on chorus lines in hugely popular Broadway revues like Shuffle Along and The Chocolate Candies as “The Pony”. Josephine would perform her routine in a comical manner – as if she didn’t know the moves – until the encore rolled and she would perform it perfectly with new levels of complexity. At the time, she was known as “the highest-paid chorus girl in vaudeville”

Her real big break came when Josephine sailed to Paris in 1925 to open La Revue Nègre at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées. Paris loved her erotic dancing and burlesque, with some of her more famous routines including the Danse Sauvage where Josephine would wear a skirt of artificial bananas, as well as bringing on stage her pet Cheetah (who would frequently terrorise the orchestra pit). 

As a celebrated performer, Josephine rubbed shoulders with many of the political elite across Europe, making her a prime target to be recruited by the French as an “honourable correspondent”

Josephine would collect intel from the variety of people she met at parties, reporting back to her handlers when she could. Messages would be written on her sheet music in invisible ink and even hidden in her underwear, and for a time she would house people who helped the ‘Free French’ effort and provide them with visas. 

Throughout her career, Josephine was a revered civil rights activist, writing articles on segregation and speaking on racial bias at universities. She would refuse to perform to segregated audiences and would staunchly oppose the KKK. She spoke at the March on Washington at the side of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. as the only official female speaker and was even asked to lead the movement after his assassination.  

History

Despite their seemingly innocuous country-women appearances, Elizabeth Van Lew and her mother worked as some of the most successful spies for The Union during the American Civil War.

Elizabeth was in her 40s, living with her mother in the North of Virginia surrounded by neighbours celebrating confederate victories whilst she quietly focused on helping the Union to prevent slavery and secession.

Over the course of four years, Elizabeth collected and sent intelligence to Union officers, providing food and medicine to prisoners of war helping to plan their escapes, even running her network of spies. She collected her thoughts in a secret diary buried in her garden, whereabouts only to be revealed upon her death. 

Her first opportunity to assist the Union came when the Confederates set up a prison in Richmond, now infamous as the ‘Libby Prison’. Hundreds of Union prisoners were put there, suffering from disease, hunger and despair. Elizabeth bargained for the right to visit the prisoners, bringing them food, books and medicine, earning her significant criticism from the local community.

Two escapees of the prison returned to the Union and told them of Elizabeth’s efforts in helping them, leading the Union General Benjamin Butler to officially recruit her. Elizabeth then headed up Butler’s spy network, becoming his chief source of information about Richmond. 

After the war ended, Elizabeth’s action had made her a social outcast in her own home. living a lonely life until her death.

She is considered the most successful Federal spy of the war.” 

– William Rasmussen, lead curator of the Virginia Historical Society

Known Operations:

• Passed information to prisoners using a custard dish with a secret compartment as well with hidden messages in books

• Bribed guards to give prisoners extra food and transfer them to hospitals

• Would hide escapees from Libby Prison in her home whilst they waited to move.

• Wrote her intelligence reports in colourless ink which would turn black when combined with milk

• Sent her operatives to retrieve the remains of a Union Colonel from Confederate hands for a proper burial

• Was instrumental in helping Union forces capture Richmond and Petersburg in 1864

Case #GH88G
Elizabeth Van Lew

Real Name: Elizabeth Van Lew

Date of Birth: 25.09.1818

Birthplace: Richmond, Virginia

Cause of Death: Natural Causes

Languages: English

Codenames: Crazy Bet

Awards: inducted into the Military Intelligence Hall of Fame

Danger Level:

2/5

Case #9D9E8
Cecily LeFort

Cecily Lefort

Real Name: Cecily Margot Gordon Lefort

Date of Birth: 30.04.1900

Birthplace: London, UK

Cause of Death: Execution

Languages: English, French

Codenames: Alice, Teacher, Cecile Marguerite Legrand

Awards: Croix de Guerre, 1939-1945 Star, France and Germany Star, War Medal

Danger Level:

2/5

History

Born in the UK and raised in France, Cecily was a Special Operative Executive agent who worked as part of Francis Cammaerts’ “Jockey Network”. 

Initially, Cecily had offered her villa in France to the SOE as a refuge after fleeing to the UK from Nazi-occupied France. They humbly accepted, using the secret bay inside to hide people as part of the Var escape line, saving nearly 70 people. 

In 1941, she joined the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force and served as a policewoman, but it was her fluency in French that caught the attention of the SOE again, who recruited her as a field agent in 1943. 

That year, Cecily was dispatched to France alongside fellow agents Diana Rowden and Noor Inayat Khan, journeying to Montelimar to join Cammaert’s Jockey Network. 

Cecily would ferry information, collect intel to be sent back to London and scout dropping ground for arms and explosives. During one particularly large airdrop, she was instrumental in guiding a plane with vital supplies over the drop zone. 

Capture and Imprisonment:

The Jockey Network’s string of successes raised the suspicions of the German forces and Cammaerts warned his agents to take extra care. Despite his warnings, Cecily wasn’t able to be careful enough and was arrested by the Gestapo whilst visiting a resistance leader. 

She was sent to prison in Lyon and then Paris where she was brutally interrogated, but Cecily endured all of the torture they could throw at her and handed over no information. 

After several months of imprisonment, Cecily was deported to Ravensbruck concentration camp in Germany, where she was forced to do hard labour that led to her health severely declining. 

In 1945, she was transferred to the Uckermark Camp, where she was executed. 

History

Hailed as the ‘heroine of Nili’, Sarah Aaronsohn and her brother were famed in their area of Israel for starting the largest pro-British spy network in the Middle East. 

Sarah was pushed to do something to help the cause when travelling between Istanbul and Haifa, witnessing the horrors and massacres that took place during the Armenian Genocide, eventually deciding to join up with the British forces. 

Sarah formed the Nili spy organisation with her siblings, overseeing operations of the anti-Turkish force in Palestine to pass information back to the British. 

She and her agents would travel around Ottoman territory, gathering intel on Turkish and German positions to pass back to British agents in Egypt, thereby helping them to advance their position in Palestine. Her spy network grew to be around 40 operatives, the largest of its kind in the Middle East. 

Capture and Imprisonment: 

In 1917, the Ottomans intercepted a message from Sarah to the British and managed to decrypt her code. They raided her hometown, arresting Sarah and many others, however Sarah had already been alerted to the possibility of her arrest and had enough time to order many of her agents to flee to other parts of the country, choosing to remain and facilitate their escapes. 

Sarah endured severe torture at the hands of the Ottomans, desperate to gain the details of her network. However, she bargained to be escorted back home briefly to change her clothes and used the opportunity to retrieve her concealed pistol and shoot herself. Unfortunately, Sarah missed her brain and was left in agony before passing away in four days time. 

Case #98UHG
Sarah Aaronsohn

Real Name: Sarah Aaronsohn

Date of Birth: 05.01.1890

Birthplace: Zichron Yaakov, Israel

Cause of Death: Suicide

Languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, Turkish, French

Codenames: Heroine of Nili

Danger Level:

3/5

Case #7DFS3
Belle Boyd

Belle Boyd

Real Name: Isabella Maria Boyd

Date of Birth: 09.05.1844

Birthplace: Martinsburg, Virginia

Cause of Death: Heart Attack

Languages: English

Codenames: La Belle Rebelle, Rebel Joan of Arc

Danger Level:

3/5

History

Belle Boyd was the antithesis to Elizabeth Van Lew, working for the Confederate forces in Union territory during the American Civil War. 

She used her status to openly work against the Union, initially just focused on raising money for the Confederacy, but when Union soldiers occupied her town she saw an opportunity to do more. 

Charming and beautiful, Belle worked hard to become close to the Union soldiers and gather intel on their plans to feedback to her Confederate contacts. Occasionally, she would work as a spy and scout with J.S. Mosby’s guerillas. 

Throughout Belle’s spy career, her actions got bolder and she was arrested at least six times, but somehow managed to continually avoid incarceration. In 1862, Union officials finally captured her and imprisoned Bell at the Old Capitol Prison in Washington D.C.

After being released, arrested again, and then released one more time after contracting typhoid fever, Belle made her way to the UK where she began to work as an actress. Her husband died in 1866, and Belle returned to the States under a new name and began to perform in several cities, settling in New Orleans. 

By 1885, Belle had begun travelling around the US to give lectures on her life as a Civil War spy, publishing an exaggerated account of her life in the two-volume novel Belle Boyd in Camp and Prison

Known Operations:

• Snuck through enemy lines to report to General Stonewall Jackson about a plan to burn the town’s bridges

• When Union soldiers attempted to raise a flag over her home, Belle refused them entry. Then, when one tried to force his way in, Belle pulled out a gun and shot him dead

History

Odette Hallowes’ story is one of the best-known when it comes to female spies from the War, being the most decorated woman of WWII, the first to be awarded the George Cross and the only woman to earn both the George Cross and an appointment to the Chevalier de la Legion d’honneur.

Her position as one of the most celebrated members of the Special Operations Executive is certainly well earned, being one of the few agents to have survived Nazi imprisonment. 

Her career in espionage began in 1942 when she was recruited to the Special Operations Executive and enrolled into the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry as cover. They trained her to be sent into Nazi-occupied territory as a field agent, working as a courier help find cover for agents and retrieve airdrops for the French Resistance.  

Capture and Imprisonment:

In 1943, Odette’s team was infiltrated by the Germans and she was arrested alongside Peter Churchill. They were sent to the Fresnes Prison, where she was interrogated by the Gestapo for information fourteen times.

Odette refused to hand over anything, instead fabricating a story that Peter was her husband (which would become the truth in future) and that he was the nephew of Prime Minister Winston Churchill. She had crafted the story under the assumption that a familial connection to the Prime Minister would make them valuable enough to keep alive, but with enough reason to not necessarily know military intel. 

Whilst her cover appeared to work, she was transferred to Ravensbruck Concentration Camp where her conditions significantly worsened. They kept Odette on a starvation diet, eventually taking away all light sources and food once the Allied forces had landed in the South of France during 1944. They cranked up the heat in her cell and left her that way for several weeks, although when they found her nearly dead she was moved to solitary confinement. 

Despite the horrendous conditions, Odette endured it all and survived long enough that once the Allies had begun closing in on the camp, the commandant took her and delivered a nearby American base as surrender. 

In 1949, a biography detailing Odette’s life was published bringing her considerable fame, soon followed by a film titled Odette in 1950. 

Case #D8SDF
Odette Hallowes

Odette Hallowes

Real Name: Odette Marie Léonie Céline Brailly

Date of Birth: 28.04.1912

Birthplace: Amiens, France

Cause of Death: Natural Causes

Languages: English, French

Codenames: Lise, Odette Metayer

Awards: MBE, George Cross, 1939-45 Star, France and Germany Star, Legion d’Honneur & more

Danger Level:

4/5

Case #X8S7Z
Violette Szabo

Violette Szabo

Real Name: Violette Reine Elizabeth Bushell

Date of Birth: 26.06.1921

Birthplace: Paris, France

Cause of Death: Execution

Languages: English, French

Awards: George Cross, Médaille de la Résistance, Croix de Guerre, 1939-45 Star, France and Germany Star, War medal

Danger Level:

3/5

History

Violette Szabo’s life was short and wrought with pain, withstanding heartbreak, loss and even imprisonment before the age of 24. In 1956, a biography detailing the ups and downs of her life was published by R.J. Minney, named Carve Her Name with Pride, subsequently getting adapted into a film starring Virginia McKenna in 1958. 

Her story began rather gentle, her childhood split between her two native homes of France and the UK, nursing her adventurous attitude with gymnastics, long-distance cycling and shooting – all skills that would later come in handy. 

In 1940, Violette lent herself to the Woman’s Land Army and began making armaments at a factory in Acton where she met her future husband. The next year, Violette joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service and was sent for training in Oswestry, Shropshire at one of the first mixed anti-aircraft batteries.

When her husband died in action soon after, their daughter barely days old, Violette felt impassioned to do even more to help in the war effort and went to enlist with the Special Operations Executive.

Her fluency in French alongside her previous experience with the ATS quickly got the attention of the SOE, who put her forward for strenuous paramilitary training in Scotland, learning Field Craft, weaponry, demolition and navigation. She then moved to Hampshire in order to receive training in communications, cryptography, uniform recognition and escape and evasion tactics. 

After her extensive training, Violette was sent to Normandy to join the “Salesman” circuit, using a false identity to investigate the capture of SOE Agents and the French Resistance. She is popularly known for using the poem The Life That I Have as her code.

Capture and Imprisonment

In 1944, Violette was caught trying to set up a new “Salesman” network elsewhere in France. She was taken by the Germans to the SS Security Services Headquarters where she was interrogated. 

Over the course of her imprisonment, Violette was moved around a few different prisons, one in Torgau where she was forced to work and live in horrendous conditions. She ended up in Ravensbruck like many of her fellow SOE agents, where she was brutally assaulted and eventually executed with a shot to the back of the head at just 23 years old. 

Sources

  • https://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/14/world/europe/14wake.html
  • https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/elizabeth-van-lew-an-unlikely-union-spy-158755584/?no-ist
  • https://www.telegraph.co.uk/films/red-sparrow/female-spies-through-history/
  • https://www.jewishpress.com/sections/jewess-press/impact-women-history/sarah-aaronson-the-heroine-of-nili/2012/01/05/
  • https://www.britannica.com/biography/Belle-Boyd
  • http://www.violette-szabo-museum.co.uk/violette.html
  • https://nigelperrin.com/christinegranville.htm
  • https://www.biography.com/performer/mata-hari
  • https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/the-womens-blog-with-jane-martinson/2012/oct/23/noor-inayat-khan-britains-muslim-heroine
  • https://www.cia.gov/news-information/featured-story-archive/2015-featured-story-archive/virginia-hall-the-courage-and-daring-of-the-limping-lady.html
  • https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10442223
  • https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/06/josephine-baker-life-artist-activist-170602194956917.html
  • https://www.encyclopediavirginia.org/Van_Lew_Elizabeth_L_1818-1900#start_entry
  • https://spartacus-educational.com/SOElefort.htm
  • https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/1429749/ War-heroine-Odette-was-deemed-too-temperamental-for-spying.html

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