This day in history 1944: Virginia Hall sets up “the farm” in occupied France
Virginia Hall installed that day in 1944 a refuge in Le Chambon sur Lignon, in south-central France, on the farm of Maurice and Léa Lebrat. In his own words:
My life in Haute-Loire was different and difficult. I spent my time looking for land for entertaining, cycling up and down mountains, checking drop zones, visiting various contacts, doing my wireless transmissions and then spending the nights outside waiting, most of the time. time in vain, deliveries.
Hall’s heroic and successful fieldwork to defeat Nazism is captured by a famous painting from 2006 given to the CIA and named after one of its airdrop code phrases “Daisies Will Bloom Tonight” (Daisies Bloom Tonight).
Pictured with Hall, Lea Lebrat’s cousin Edmund is said to have built and operated the generator feeding secret wireless signals to London.
In March 1944, it slipped into France by boat and began to exfiltrate intelligence streams as well as train three battalions with a The Jedburgh team fight the Germans until the Allied forces (after D-Day of June 6, 1944) are able to join her in august and take over in September. Again in his own words:
In 1943, I joined General Donovan’s Office of Strategic Services for more adventures with the French Resistance. I became proficient in Morse code and radio operation which made me invaluable. During the day I appeared to be a milkmaid. However, at night I led the resistance forces under my command in numerous acts of sabotage and guerrilla warfare. I relayed important information from the haylofts via my radio in London. I was always one step ahead of the Gestapo, whose leaders knew me and wanted me to be captured. I never gave them the opportunity, my spirit and dedication to the cause carried me.
She died in 1982, still largely unknown as she wished she had done a lot more hard work than being recognized for it.
Senator Bob Dole in 2016 called Hall in particular (“the only civilian woman to receive the Distinguished Service Cross during WWII”) when he pushed the US government to present a Congressional Gold Medal to the OSS (awarded March 21, 2018).
Or as President Harry Truman Put the, when General Donovan awarded him the Cross in September 1945:
Miss Hall displayed rare courage, perseverance and ingenuity; his efforts materially contributed to the success of Resistance Forces operations in support of the Allied Expeditionary Forces in the liberation of France.