Tuesday, April 6, 2010

On April 6

On this day in ...
... 1906, Virginia Hall (right) was born in Baltimore, Maryland. After studying at Radcliffe and Barnard, she traveled through Europe, and in 1931 was hired as a clerk at the U.S. Embassy in Poland. A year later she accidentally shot herself while hunting, and the consequent amputation of her left leg ended her hopes of entering the Foreign Service. She joined the Allied effort as soon as World War II broke out in Europe, 1st as an ambulance aide and eventually as a coordinator of French Underground activities on behalf of Britain's Special Operations Executive. (photo credit) In 1944, as a member of the United States' Office of Strategic Services Special Operations Branch, she returned to occupied France, where her espionage aiding the French Resistance prompted occupying Nazis to distribute this warning on a flyer:
'The woman who limps is one of the most dangerous Allied agents in France. We must find and destroy her.'

After the war she married and worked for the Central Intelligence Agency, retiring in 1966. She died in 1982 at age 76. Hall, who'd received U.S. and British honors during her life, again was honored posthumously in 2006.

(Prior April 6 posts are here, here, and here)

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