Great Western Railway name train in memory of World War Two hero

A hero of World War Two has been honoured by Great Western Railway who have named a train in her memory.

Odette Hallowes was a French citizen who lived in Somerset. She became a special agent and the most highly decorated spy of the war.

Her story of bravery was honoured as the intercity express arrived at London Paddington Station. Credit: ITV News West Country

Her courage and fortitude now lives on as the train was unveiled by Princess Anne in her memory.

The unveiling of the train named after Odette Hallowes. Credit: ITV News West Country
The 11:32 service to Bristol was guided on its journey by all female staff to also honour Odette. Credit: ITV News West Country
  • Background

Odette Hallowes was a French native turned British spy. The most highly decorated spy of the second world war – man or woman, who lived on the border of Somerset and Devon.

Odette was part of 'F' Section of the Special Operations Executive. It sent special agents to France to work secretly against the Nazis. It was here she became Agent S.23. Code name Lise.

On October 31st 1942 she was deployed to France, six months later on April 16th 1943 she was betrayed and captured.

Odette had to leave her three daughters behind in Convent school when she was deployed to France. Credit: ITV News West Country

Odette was interrogated and tortured.

In July 1944 she was sent to the notorious Ravensbrück concentration camp in Germany, where she endured months of solitary confinement and was condemned to death twice. But she revealed nothing.

On 1st May 1945, the concentration camp commandant ordered Odette to get in his black Mercedes and drove out of the camp.

He wanted to hand her over to the Americans, in an attempt to lessen his inevitable sentence. This was when she found freedom.

She is one of the few to survive Nazi imprisonment. She died on 13 March 1995, aged 82.

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