Virginia Hall

Posted: July 1, 2008 in Espionage, OSS, Tradecraft, Whom You Least Suspect, WWII
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aka: “The Limping Lady” (1906-1982)

Virginia Hall grew up very well-educated and in a very posh manner in Baltimore, Maryland. She was studying in Europe when she became an embassy clerk in Poland in 1931. Things went swimmingly for Ginny until she accidentally shot herself while turkey hunting and lost her left leg for her efforts. Consequently, this ended her consular career in 1939.

Now, don’t go writing off our girl Virginia as a flighty bird, and I say this or two reasons:

1. The loss of a gam led Ginny girl into the world of espionage and thus becoming one of the greatest female American spies to date.

and

2. She named her prosthetic leg “Cuthbert”.

Needless to say, this Agent likes her spy-dames with a sense of humor.

So Gimpy made her way to Vichy France where she volunteered for the Ambulance Service and later forwarded her soon-to-be-bad-self to London where she volunteered for the British Special Operations Executive which sent her back to Vichy France where Hall coordinated the goings-on for the French Underground. In 1942, Germans took over this area and Hall barely made it out with her life.

Hall joined the American OSS in 1944 where she was sent back to France, again, and made quite a name for herself mapping safe houses, coordinating drop zones for supplies, and waged guerilla war alongside the locals against the Germans. This is the real stuff of spies, ladies, no sexed-up Killer Fembots need apply. A one-legged, American debutante kicking ass and taking names.

At one point, when her identity was compromised, and Germans sent out word they looking for a limping interloper, Hall trained herself to walk perfectly, of course, with her prosthetic leg and gimped the hell out of Dodge despite the agonizing pain she must have endured in doing so.

Virginia Hall, for her bad-ass service to both the British and the US, was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire and awarded the American Distinguished Service Cross by no less than “Wild Bill” Donovan himself.

After the war, Hall married, joined the newly formed CIA, and retired to Maryland, where she passed away in 1982.

So then next time you’re listening to the droning of “the brave men of WWII” (which they were, don’t pick a fight where there’s none to be had), never let it be said the Ladies merely sat on the sidelines.

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Comments
  1. […] was to turn the passport in to the police). Hardly the acts of a trained Spy Dame! Seriously, Virginia Hall is rolling over in her […]

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