Virginia Hall: Professional US Spy

CULTURE | February 27, 2017

Virginia Hall Goillot MBE was born on April 6, 1906 in Baltimore, Maryland and like most young persons her age at the time, wanted to make some contribution to the ongoing international turmoil as a Foreign Service Officer. Her loyalty lay with the United Kingdom, The United States and France.

This dream did not materialize as Hall was accidentally shot in the leg and had to have the leg amputated to prevent further infection and save her life. She then switched gears and signed up to join the French Ambulance Service during World War II with the hopes of attending to the sick and wounded as well as driving supply and delivery trucks.

However, France’s involvement in this part of the war was short-lived and then again she was anxious to find some way to help. At that same time however, the United States joined the war and the fighting intensified. With constant fighting all around her, Hall was forced to escape to Spain in 1942 when Germany seized France.

Along with her wooden prosthetic which she had nicknamed “Cuthbert” Hall made a daring escape and made her way back to France where she assisted with the training of armed forces to fight the Nazis. This included careful and precise plotting ways to cut off supply lines to and from the Nazi camps. She also in assisted and headed the identifying of the best and most logical safe houses, escape routes and supply chains for friendly troops.

It was not long before Nazi caught on and named Hall one of their most wanted enemies. Known by a slew of aliases such as Diane, Maire of Lyon, La Dame Que Boite (the limping lady), Hall was not easily caught and survived the end of the war.

She lived out her post war days with her husband Agent Paul Goillot whom she married in 1950. In her next career move, Hall worked with the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) as an analyst for French Parliamentary matters. She also worked with her husband in SAD (Special Activities Division) which is responsible for the execution special high classed operations within the CIA.

She would eventually retire in 1966 in her homeland of Maryland. Hall was awarded an honorary member of the Order of the British Empire for her services and candor during the war. She was also awarded the Distinguished Service Cross in 1945 by General William Joseph Donovan of France.

Known as one of the greatest spies of all time, Hall showed that her disability/ handicap did not deter her from achieving any goal that she had set. Hall dedicated the majority of her life fighting and plotting against the main aggressor of World War II. Her impact can be easily felt and understood as she fed and provided shelter for the very forces which were tasked with fighting with Germany and any other enemies on the front line. Hall died at the age of 76 on July 1986 and was buried in Druid Ridge Cemetery in Maryland.

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