One of the most celebrated female World War II resistance fighters shares her remarkable, heroic story in this revealing chronicle of her experiences as a special agent for the British Special Operations Executive.
French-born British citizen Cornioley tells her story through a series of reminiscences, including her difficult childhood spent in the shadow of World War I, her family’s harrowing escape from Paris as the Germans approached in 1940, her recruitment and training as a special agent, and parachuting into a remote, rural area of occupied France. She assumed the identity of a cosmetics saleswoman to make her way around the country as an SOE courier. Cornioley vividly recounts acts of espionage, sabotage and several dramatic narrow escapes. She became “Pauline” when she was put in command of a 3,500-strong group of French Resistance fighters when the leader of her network was captured by the Gestapo. Each chapter opens with remarks providing context and background on the SOE and the French Resistance. Appendices include an annotated list of key figures and original, unedited interview extracts with Cornioley.
A gripping, true story of a courageous secret agent fighting behind enemy lines, as riveting as any work of historical fiction. (photographs, source notes, bibliography) (Memoir. 12-18)