Monday, May 30, 2011

Virginia Hall: The Most Dangerous Allied Agent

Virginia Hall, courtesy of Lorna Catling.

Once, just after reporting to the OSS officer on her radio, Virginia heard a car drive up to the cottage. She thought it was probably an agent coming to see her, but out of practiced caution she hid her radio and went downstairs. When she opened the cottage door, she was shocked to find a group of German officers.

The commanding officer asked her why she was there. In her best "old woman" voice, she explained that she worked for the farmer and his mother. Apparently not satisfied with her answer, the officer sent three of his men into the cottage, and upstairs to her room. Virginia could hear them knocking things over. If they found her radio, she would certainly be arrested. Her heart was beating so wildly, she was sure the soldiers could see it. Would they find the radio? Should she run? How far could she get before she was shot? Wild questions passed through her mind but she remained outside with the soldiers as seconds passed into minutes.

Finally, one of the men came down and handed something to his commanding officer. Virginia couldn't see what it was. The officer looked at the item, then back at Virginia. He walked up to her. Virginia almost stopped breathing.

Excerpt from "Virginia Hall: The Most Dangerous Allied Agent" from Women Heroes of World War II: 26 Stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Resistance, and Rescue.