The Spy Who Loved: the secrets and lives of one of Britain's bravest wartime heroines

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The Spy Who Loved: the secrets and lives of one of Britain's bravest wartime heroines

The Spy Who Loved: the secrets and lives of one of Britain's bravest wartime heroines

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When the Germans carried out a huge offensive on the Vercors plateau, Granville and Cammaerts escaped the massacre that followed by hiking 70 miles in 24 hours.

By December 1939 Skarbek was embarking on her proposed mission to Budapest where she would meet fellow agent, Andrzej Kowerski, a Polish war hero who had lost his leg. Upon their release they were given British passports and new identities: she became known as Christine Granville whilst Andrzej adopted the name Andrew Kennedy. In July 1944, she parachuted into France to join the resistance in the Vercors region as lieutenant to Francis Cammaerts – one of Britain’s top agents and the key leader in that area. Despite her war record she was unable to find settled employment, and drifted through a string of short-lived menial jobs before taking work as a stewardess on cruise ships.In Budapest, in January 1941, she showed her penchant for stratagem when she and Kowerski were arrested by the Hungarian police and imprisoned and questioned by the Gestapo. She also tried without success to persuade French resistance leaders to storm the prison in Digne and rescue Cammaerts and the others.

Although she was temperamental, we remained friends; I preferred to build a pleasant atmosphere full of fun and wild whimsy with her at a restaurant or dance hall table, rather than to dally with her. The women of SOE were all given military rank, with honorary commissions in either the Women's Transport Service, the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (FANY), officially part of the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) though a very elite and autonomous part, or the Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF).When the world war II broke out, instead of open fight, Krystyna chose to act in secret using her numerous contacts. She is credited with providing intelligence on oil transports to Germany from Romania's Ploiesti oilfields. Before 1914, he lived in America, where he earned a living as a prospector, logger and cowboy, as well as working as a chauffeur for John Rockefeller, the millionaire. In May 2017, a bronze bust by Ian Wolter was unveiled at the Polish Hearth Club ( Ognisko Polskie) in Kensington, London.

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