Phyllis Latour: The secret life of a WW2 heroine revealed

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CharlieOneSix
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Phyllis Latour: The secret life of a WW2 heroine revealed

#1 Post by CharlieOneSix » Sat Oct 14, 2023 1:31 pm

The last of the 39 female SOE agents has died in New Zealand aged 102.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-67100792

What a story! With a report like this I'm surprised that she survived:
She was a "simple-minded, naïve, ingenuous girl", according to her first report. She was "bright, eager and plucky", with a dislike of "sedentary" duties - office-based work, in other words. She was "childlike" and had "no grasp of the realities of life".
A damning report on another SOE trainee:
"Would make an excellent wife for an unimaginative man."
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Re: Phyllis Latour: The secret life of a WW2 heroine revealed

#2 Post by Karearea » Sat Oct 14, 2023 2:49 pm

A few more details of her life at this link:

Stuff: Decorated WWII special ops agent has died in West Auckland, aged 102

Splendid.
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Re: Phyllis Latour: The secret life of a WW2 heroine revealed

#3 Post by OneHungLow » Sun Oct 15, 2023 2:25 pm

Karearea wrote:
Sat Oct 14, 2023 2:49 pm
A few more details of her life at this link:

Stuff: Decorated WWII special ops agent has died in West Auckland, aged 102

Splendid.
I suspect she picked up something of her mother's spirit and a great deal of bad luck to boot.

She has been claimed by South Africa, Britain, France, Kenya and New Zealand as one of their own.

Great thread C16. I missed the fact that you had posted here and posted exactly the same article as you elsewhere. I have a put a link there to this one.
The only child of a French father and an English mother, she was born on a Belgium ship tied up in Durban. Her father went to work in the Congo and sent her and her mother back to South Africa when tribal wars erupted. He was killed in those wars when she was three months old. When she was three her mother remarried.

"My stepfather was well-off, and a racing driver. The men would do circuits and they would often let their wives race against each other. When my mother drove the choke stuck and she couldn't control the car. She hit a barrier, the car burst into flames, and she died."

Her father's cousin became her guardian, and she went to live with him, his wife and his sons in the Congo. "They were really the only parents I knew. When I was seven my "new" mother went riding as she always did. The horse came back without her, and a lot of time elapsed before they found her as they didn't know where she had been riding. Apparently the horse had stepped on a puff adder. She was thrown, and then bitten in the face by the adder. When they found her she was dead."
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Re: Phyllis Latour: The secret life of a WW2 heroine revealed

#4 Post by boing » Mon Nov 13, 2023 8:27 pm

An admirable group.

Our French tutor at Grammar School was a wonderful lady, terribly direct and with the odd habit of walking through the corridors holding a two way conversation with herself in French. There was never any official disclosure because it was not the sort of thing you discussed in those days but it was known that she had been a British agent in WW2. Apparently her English parents had been long time French residents prior to the war and she had, of course, been raised speaking perfect french. She stayed throughout the war in some sort of communications function between the Resistance and the UK government, the stress must have been incredible but we never heard anything from her own lips.

Her most famous take-down was of a very pompous and entitled boy One day she for no apparent reason started a discussion on nick-names and asked the class to share theirs. As she came to the boy in question he said he had no nick-name and expected to be called by his proper name. Her response was "No nick-name? You must not be very popular with the other boys.". There were restrained chuckles.

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