By Sarah Helm
From an award-winning journalist comes this real-life cloak-and-dagger story of Vera Atkins, one in all Britain’s most popular mystery brokers in the course of international conflict II.
As the pinnacle of the French component to the British distinctive Operations government, Vera Atkins recruited, knowledgeable, and mentored specified operatives whose task used to be to arrange and arm the resistance in Nazi-occupied France. After the battle, Atkins courageously devoted herself to a deadly look for twelve of her so much loved girls spies who had long gone lacking in motion. Drawing on formerly unavailable assets, Sarah Helm chronicles Atkins’s outstanding existence and her singular trip in the course of the chaos of post-war Europe. Brimming with intrigue, heroics, honor, and the horrors of warfare, A existence in Secrets is the tale of a grand, elusive lady and a travel de strength of investigative journalism.
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Extra resources for A Life in Secrets: Vera Atkins and the Missing Agents of WWII
When was it exactly? The tenth of March. Ha! ‘Played bridge—Blitz—Boodles hit—windows out of Brooks—shaking like a jelly' I think it was round about then. ” Elizabeth, he explained, was the SOE secretary assigned to Room 055a, where SOE candidates were first interviewed. ” Peter explained that he had befriended Elizabeth because he wanted a job with SOE. ” Elizabeth often held bridge parties at her home, and on one occasion a mutual friend brought Vera along to make up a four. “None of us knew who she was.
You see, she was so much older than us other girls. She had no context at all that I discovered. And we didn't ask—one didn't then. ” Elizabeth herself had started as a “snagger,” a filing clerk, in MI5, which was the Eton or Roedean of Whitehall. She then moved to SOE and recalled that F Section was considered “not quite top notch,” “a mixed bunch, mostly City,” whereas the Balkan Section had the really “smart,” wealthy types, brought in from Hambros or Courtaulds. ” Often she was called over to Orchard Court to help out, usually by chatting to agents and drinking cocoa with them to set them at ease before their departure.
Faded and brown round the edges, it captured her unusual aura of gentleness and strength. It was all in her large, dark eyes. Opening up the card, I saw there was writing inside: “To Vera Atkins. ” The note was signed by Nora's eldest brother, Vilayat Inayat Khan, and dated 1948. I stared at the picture for some moments. Just lying there as it was on the floor, I could so easily have missed it. PART I ENGLAND 1. Nora Vera Atkins did not, as a rule, take too much notice of the opinions of others.
A Life in Secrets: Vera Atkins and the Missing Agents of WWII by Sarah Helm