During World War II, many of the best operatives of the British Special Operations Executive (SOE), and the American Office of Strategic Services (OSS), were women. They worked undercover, putting their lives at risk in occupied France, and running agent networks, conducting sabotage, and training the French Maquis.
Many lost their lives or went sent off to concentration camps as the German Gestapo found out their true identities. Odette Hallowes, a member of the SOE, was arrested by the Gestapo, brutally tortured and sent to the Ravensbrück concentration camp; but she survived to tell her tale and would go down as one of the most decorated agents of World War II.
Hallowes was awarded the Georges Cross, made a Member of the Order of the British Empire, and the French Legion d’Honneur among other awards and decorations. There have been books written about her as well as a film on her wartime exploits. On Friday, March 6, the Great Western Railway (GWR) named a train after her.
“We are so moved by this honor,” her granddaughter Sophie Parker said.