In May, 1944, a 23-year-old British secret agent named Phyllis Latour Doyle parachuted into occupied Normandy to gather intelligence on Nazi positions in preparation for D-Day. Taking advantage of the fact that Nazi occupiers and their French collaborators were less suspicious of women than men,she posed as a poor, teenage French girl selling soap. She used the knitting she always carried to hide her secret codes.
"I always carried knitting because my codes were on a piece of silk. I had about 2,000 codes I could use. When I used a code I would pinprick it to indicate it had gone. I wrapped the piece of silk around a knitting needle and put it in a flat shoe lace which I used to tie my hair up," she remembers. For 70 years, her contributions to the war effort were largely unheralded, but she was finally given her due in 2014, when she was awarded France's highest honor, the Chevalier of the Legion of Honour. She celebrates her 99th birthday this month.
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