Hallowes, Odette Bailly Sansom Churchill

Color photo of the British spy with her decorations and medals

Price: $175.00

Description:
(1912-1995) French-born British spy, heroine of WW II. She met Englishman Roy Sansom in Boulogne, and married him in 1931, moving with him to England. He enlisted in 1940. In the spring of 1942, the Admiralty appealed for postcards or family photographs taken on the Continent for possible war use. She wrote that she had photographs taken around Boulogne, on the English Channel, but inadvertently addressed her letter to the War Office, not the Admiralty. As a result, she was enrolled in Special Forces of the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (FANY) and trained by Colonel Maurice Buckmaster's Special Operations Executive to be sent into Nazi-occupied France to work with the French underground. She landed near Cannes in 1942 and made contact with her supervisor, Peter Churchill. Using the code name “Lise”, she brought him funds and acted as his courier. Churchill's operation in France was infiltrated by Abwehr counter-intelligence, who arrested Odette and Churchill on 16 April 1943 and they were then sent to Fresnes Prison. Although tortured by the SD in Paris with a red-hot poker, she stuck to her cover story that Churchill was the nephew of Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and that she was his wife. She was condemned to death in June 1943 and sent to Ravensbrück concentration camp. Odette survived partly thanks to her alias of "Churchill". The British calculated that if the Germans thought she was related to the British Prime Minister, they would keep her alive as a possible bargaining tool. And with the Allies a few miles from Ravensbrück, Camp commandant Fritz Suhren drove with her to the US base when surrendering to the Americans. He hoped her supposed connections to Churchill might allow him to negotiate his way out of execution. Subsequently Odette testified against prison guards charged with war crimes at the 1946 Hamburg Ravensbrück Trials. Sansom and Odette's marriage was dissolved in 1946 and she married Peter Churchill in 1947. She was divorced from Churchill in 1956 and married Geoffrey Hallowes that year. She was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) and was the 1st of 3 WW II FANY members awarded the George Cross on Aug. 20, 1946, the only woman to receive the George Cross while alive. She was also appointed a Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur for her work with the French resistance. In 2012, the Royal Mail released a postage stamp featuring her as part its "Britons of Distinction" series. Uncommon SP, 5 x 4 color bust portrait wearing her decorations and medals, signed in silver ink with sentiment. Undated but in later life.

Condition: Very good
Type:Photograph






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