When I was researching Operation Suicide in 2010 I came across one of the great characters of the war, a remarkable woman involved in the early escape networks from France. Mary Lindell was an aristocratic Edwardian matriarch living in Paris who became the Edith Cavell of the Second World War, but with a happier ending. She set up, and ran for MI9 (the escape and evasion section of MI6), the ‘Marie-Claire’ escape line which rescued, among many others, Blondie Hasler and Marine Sparks from the ‘Cockleshell Heroes’ raid on Bordeaux Harbour in December 1942. Many scores of men owe their lives to this amazing woman.
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