The 'Cat Lady' Spy Dies

The extraordinary life of Eileen Nearne - The Cat Lady Spy!
She once lived a daring life as a secret agent for the British Special Operations Executive (SOE) in Nazi-occupied France in the Second World War.
Although she will be given a simple funeral next week, organised by her local council, she has been described as an unsung heroine of the war, serving as a radio operator, under the codename Rose.

On March 2, 1944, she was flown by Lysander aircraft to a field near Les Lagnys in France to work as a wireless operator for the Wizard network as part of Operation Mitchel.
Her cover story was that she was Mademoiselle du Tort.
Four months later she was caught using her radio set but, even after torture, persuaded the Gestapo that she was merely a little shopgirl who knew nothing of undercover war operations.
But on Aug 15, 1944, she was sent to Ravensbrück concentration camp in Germany. She was later transferred to a forced labour camp in Silesia, on the German border.
On April 13, 1945, she escaped with two French girls from the forced labour gang by hiding in the forest. They later travelled through Markkleeberg where they were arrested by the SS.
Eileen Nearne’s ingenuity again proved to be life-saving, because they were released after convincing their captors of their innocence.
Among items found in her home were discontinued French currency, dating back to the War, an array of correspondence written in French and a selection of medals.
A neighbour, said: "She was quite reclusive although known as the 'Cat Lady' because of those she looked after and her relationship with the neigbourhood cats. She talked to them and said that they knew how to keep secrets".
The South Devon coroner said Miss Nearne died of natural causes, so there will be no inquest. The council is looking into the possibility of having her medals buried with her.
Her funeral is due to take place at Drakes Chapel, Torquay, at 11am on Sept 21.

Source: The Daily Telegraph

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