because the woman's place is wherever the woman is...

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Virginia Hall

Even though her left leg had been amputated at the knee and replaced with a wooden leg after a hunting accident, Virginia Hall was still reportedly considered by the German Gestapo in World War II "the most dangerous of all allied spies." Ivy League trained and more or less fluent in French, German and Italian, Hall started out in the United States diplomatic corps, but when the war got heated, she immediately volunteered, wooden leg and all, to join Britain's newly formed Special Operations Executive and slipped back into France in 1941, coordinating the activities of the French underground resistance while pretending to be a New York Post correspondent.

Spending some time in Spain and returning to London for a bit after the Gestapo put her on their "most wanted list," Hall nevertheless limped her way right back into France first chance she got, where she mapped drop zones for supplies and commandos from England, found safe houses, provided a constant stream of valuable reporting, and helped train three battalions of resistance fighters to wage guerrilla warfare against the Germans until the Allied Forces had time to take over France. Hall was the only civilian woman awarded a Distinguished Service Cross in World War II, but that's not really remarkable for an in-your-face woman now, is it?

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