By Sarah Helm
From an award-winning journalist comes this real-life cloak-and-dagger story of Vera Atkins, one among Britain’s optimum mystery brokers in the course of global struggle II.
As the pinnacle of the French element of the British exact Operations government, Vera Atkins recruited, proficient, and mentored detailed operatives whose activity was once to arrange and arm the resistance in Nazi-occupied France. After the struggle, Atkins courageously devoted herself to a deadly look for twelve of her such a lot adored girls spies who had long gone lacking in motion. Drawing on formerly unavailable assets, Sarah Helm chronicles Atkins’s impressive existence and her singular trip during the chaos of post-war Europe. Brimming with intrigue, heroics, honor, and the horrors of warfare, A existence in Secrets is the tale of a grand, elusive girl and a journey de strength of investigative journalism.
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Additional info for A Life in Secrets: Vera Atkins and the Missing Agents of WWII
Women, however, could invent a hundred cover stories as they moved around and aroused little suspicion. It was also considered that because women were less likely to be bodily searched, their messages could be niftily tucked in hems of skirts or, better still, in underwear. In April 1942 Gubbins s case for sending women was secretly nodded through by Churchill and his War Cabinet, but the decision was never to be avowed, and it was left to Gubbins to find a ruse both to get around the law and to overcome opposition in the military.
Most of the photographs just showed Vera as an upper-crust Englishwoman, often presiding at dinners or being chummy with the queen mother. There was only one that interested me. It showed Vera as a very young woman, tall and handsome, almost beautiful, standing with another young woman by a newly planted sapling, but where it had been taken, the picture did not say. ” They did not exist. Instead there was a vast amount of material on the various media projects in which Vera had been involved over the years, including a large file called “Controversial Books” that contained letters to and from authors about how they had got the SOE story wrong.
So when Suttill's request first came, Vera saw Nora as a natural choice, and although her final training in field security and encoding had to be cut short, she judged her ready to go. Nora's new identity, or cover story, in France would simply have to be made to match her outwardly gentle character, said Vera. And by the time Nora came back to Orchard Court for her final briefings in May 1943, Vera had devised a cover story for Nora as Jeanne-Marie Renier, whose profession would be that of children's nurse.
A Life in Secrets: Vera Atkins and the Missing Agents of WWII by Sarah Helm