It was late 1942, the Gestapo were closing in, and it was essential that she escape. She had been in France working behind enemy lines for the British for more than a year and the Nazis considered her the "enemy's most dangerous spy." She successfully managed her escape by walking to Spain – 50 miles over the Pyrenees in deep snow, in the dead of winter, with a wooden prosthetic leg (the result of a hunting accident).
What happened next? She was promptly arrested and held for six weeks because she lacked an entry stamp on her passport. She considered this incarceration only a temporary setback. After release, she became a spy for the American intelligence service, the OSS. She had her teeth ground down and learned to apply makeup so as to appear to be an elderly French milkmaid. In this guise, she developed a spy network of 1,500 people that blew up bridges, sabotaged trains, and called in air drops across occupied France. After the war, she was recognized by both the French and British governments and was the only civilian woman to receive the Distinguished Service Cross from the U. S. Government – all of this done privately with only her mother present as a witness.
The name of this incredible woman? Virginia Hall – the most famous spy we’ve never heard of.