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Odette Brailly Sansom Hallowes
Birth: Apr. 28, 1912
Amiens, France
Death: Mar. 13, 1995
Walton-on-Thames
Surrey, England

World War II Figure. She was awarded the George Cross for valour in clandestine operations and while held prisoner-of-war. Born Odette Marie CÚline Brailly, the child of a French soldier killed in action in 1918, she survived polio at age seven and in 1931 married Roy Sansom, relocating with him to England. Mr. Sansom enlisted in 1940 while Odette was recruited into the Special Forces of the First Aid for Nursing Yeomanry (FANY) after answering a radio appeal for photographs of the French coast. She placed her three children in a convent school and after training as a radio operator by the Special Operations Executive (SOE) was sent to France for work with the Underground, specifically aiding the resistance in Burgundy. Landing near Cannes on November 3, 1942, she was given the code name "Agent Lise" and assigned to work with Peter Churchill (1909-1972), serving as a courier first in Cannes and later in St. Jorioz. Betrayed by a double agent on April 16, 1943, the pair was held in Paris' Fresnes Prison where they used a cover story that they were actually married and that Churchill was a nephew of the Prime Minister. Odette took all responsibility for the operation upon herself, sparing Churchill from interrogation and the possibility of revealing secrets; refusing to give up information despite being branded and having her toenails pulled out, Odette was sentenced to death (along with Churchill) in June 1943, and sent to Ravensbruck in May of 1944 but never executed, perhaps in part because of the "nephew" tale. Odette was held in solitary confinement, forced to endure and listen to torture, until admitted to the camp hospital with tuberculosis. Escorted to the American lines on May 1, 1945, by commandant Fritz Suhren in an attempt to gain leniency for himself she denounced her captor, her testimony eventually helping to hang him in 1950. Odette was named Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 1945, was awarded the George Cross on August 20, 1946, for bravery in captivity, and was presented with the French Legion of Honour in 1950. Her first marriage being dissolved in 1946, Odette married Churchill in 1947, though the couple was to divorce in 1956; later that year she wed fellow SOE veteran Geoffrey Hallowes (deceased 2006), the union lasting until her death. Retiring to Walton-on-Thames in the early 1980s, Odette remained active in veterans' groups. In 1994 she returned to Ravensbruck for the first time to unveil a monument to the other SOE ladies. Her story was told in Jerrard Tickell's "Odette: The Story of a British Agent" (1949), and in the 1950 film "Odette" in which she was portrayed by Dame Anna Neagle. One of four female George Cross recipients, she remains the only one to have received it while alive. (bio by: Bob Hufford) 
 
Burial:
Burvale Cemetery
Hersham
Elmbridge Borough
Surrey, England
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Bob Hufford
Record added: Dec 25, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 63293111
Odette <i>Brailly</i> Sansom Hallowes
Added by: Bob Hufford
 
Odette <i>Brailly</i> Sansom Hallowes
Added by: Kevin Brazier
 
Odette <i>Brailly</i> Sansom Hallowes
Added by: Kevin Brazier
 
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