Picture of Odette Sansom and cover of the book Code Name Lise 090519 CREDIT Mirrorpix
Women

Code Name: Lise - New Book Tells The Story Of WW2's Most Decorated Spy

Odette Sansom was the first woman to be awarded the George Cross and was decorated with France's highest honour.

Picture of Odette Sansom and cover of the book Code Name Lise 090519 CREDIT Mirrorpix

Odette Sansom did not reveal secrets to the Gestapo, even after torture, and protected the lives of fellow spies (Picture: Mirror Books).

The most highly-decorated spy of the Second World War is the subject of a new book.

'Code Name: Lise' tells the tale of Odette Sansom, who followed in her father's footsteps and became a Special Operations Executive (SOE) to aid Britain from within occupied France.

Her endeavours saw her become the first woman to be awarded the George Cross, and she was also given France’s highest honour. 

During her time as an Allied intelligence officer, Ms Sansom fell in love with her commanding officer, Captain Peter Churchill.

After Nazi capture, they were starved, beaten and tortured in German concentration camps.

The letter and medals which were returned to Odette and Peter after they were stolen by thieves (Picture: Mirrorpix).
The letter and medals which were returned to Ms Sansom and Capt Churchill after they were stolen by thieves (Picture: Mirrorpix).

The story focuses on how they deal with the horrors they faced during imprisonment.

Even after being tortured, she did not reveal anything to the Gestapo and protected the lives of fellow spies Arnaud and Roger Cammaerts.

"My grandmother had the sheer audacity to 'talk back' to the Gestapo," her eldest granddaughter Nicole said.

"When she was condemned to death on not one but two counts - the first for being a French Resistance worker and the second for being an English spy - she instructed them to make up their minds because she could only die once.

"Even after all the pain and torture they could never break my grandmother's spirit and throughout her life, she always felt equal loyalty to both France and England."

After the Second World War, Ms Sansom worked to promote the importance of female SOE agents during the war.

She also co-founded the International Women's Day Lunch because, as her granddaughter put it, 'she wanted to ensure that these women - her comrades - were always remembered'.