The Spy Who Loved: the secrets and lives of one of Britain's bravest wartime heroines

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The Spy Who Loved: the secrets and lives of one of Britain's bravest wartime heroines

The Spy Who Loved: the secrets and lives of one of Britain's bravest wartime heroines

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The Woman Who Saved the Children', (Oneworld, 2009), is about Eglantyne Jebb, controversial founder of Save the Children, won the Daily Mail Biographers Club prize. However, what is little spoken about are the Polish mathematicians and code breakers who were instrumental in breaking the codes as far back as 1932. Her father was Count Jerzy Skarbek, and young Krystyna excelled at languages, horseback riding, shooting, and playing with knives.

Christine’s bravery had been instrumental in saving countless lives and keeping the resistance movement throughout Europe sustained during the most difficult times of the war. Poland has had a lot of bad luck (these thoughts popped up partly because I had just read what the Soviets had done to it a few centuries before in Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman). She is credited with providing intelligence on oil transports to Germany from Romania's Ploiesti oilfields. Krystyna Skarbek was born into an aristocratic - albeit financially challenged - Polish family in 1908.After the physical hardship and mental strain she had suffered for six years in our service, she needed, probably more than any other agent we had employed, security for life.

Krystyna did not want petty jobs, but she was unpopular with both the British and Polish intelligence agencies at the time.General Butler arrived and disapproved of the proceedings, threatening Skarbek and Cammaerts with arrest and court martial if they did not leave. Countess Krystyna Skarbek (aka Christine Granville) arguably influenced the Second World War in Britain’s favour more than any other woman – as such she was later regarded as Churchill’s Favourite Spy. After completing work in Cairo where she was trained on the wireless, in July 1944 she was found herself on a mission, this time in France.



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