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Odette Sansom
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Spy
    (April 28, 1912-March 13, 1995)
    Born in Amiens, France
    Birth name was Odette Marie Celine Brailly
    Married Englishman Roy Sansom and moved to Britain (1931)
    Recruited by the Special Operations Executive (SOE) as a courier for the French underground
    Arrested with supervisor Peter Churchill by the Gestapo (April 16, 1943)
    Awarded the George Cross and Legion of Honor
    She initially contacted the SOE by mistake when she responded to an appeal by the Admiralty for photographs taken on the Continent for wartime use but addressed her letter to the wrong agency.
    She left her three daughters in a convent school when she joined the SOE.
    To try to mitigate their treatment after their capture, she claimed to be married to Churchill, who claimed to be Winston's nephew.
    After the war, she and Churchill did get married. And then divorced.
    She contracted polio when she was seven, spent a year blind and another year unable to move her limbs.
    She was tortured by the Gestapo and sent to the Ravensbruck concentration camp.
    She became the first living woman to receive the George Cross for heroism, all other female recipients having won the award posthumously.
    Late in her life, her George Cross was stolen during a burglary at her mother's home. After a public appeal it was returned with a note saying, 'You, Madame, appear to be a dear old lady.... thank you for having faith in me. I am not all that bad - it's just circumstances.... Sincerely yours, A Bad Egg.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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