Apr 22, 2019

A Woman of No Importance, Sonia Purnell

Ever heard the name Virginia Hall? No? Neither had I until I read this book.

Virginia Hall was an amazing woman but she carried out her operations without a military rank and sometimes in the face of less experienced 'superiors' who thought that war was just a game; their womanizing and lax security almost led to her downfall several times.

Virginia was one of first SOE agents sent into occupied France during WWII. Hall was American but the only diplomatic work the US could find for her was typing and filing so she offered herself to the Brits. Hall, who had the added problem of a wooden leg was suddenly in her element, posing as a Western journalist she filed stories from Paris for the New York Post and quietly set up several of the strongest resistance networks in SOE history.

Even after her cover was blown she managed to escape to Spain across the Pyrenees and after retraining in the U.K as a radio operator she re-entered France to organize a campaign of deadly guerrilla warfare and sabotage targeting divisions of German troops who would otherwise have been headed to Normandy.

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