In the heart-stopping minutes that follow she contrives to chat to each soldier alone as they check her papers. She flirts outrageously and, as she cycles away, both Germans believe that they have secured a date for that evening.
According to her papers, this woman is a French citizen. In reality, the suitcase on her bicycle holds a wireless set. Only the soldiers know why they didn’t want to search it.
She is Patricia O’Sullivan, born in Dublin and, in 1944, working for the British government’s Special Operations Executive (SOE) with the Resistance in occupied France.
She used the noms de guerre Micheline and Josette, and narrowly escaped arrest, torture and death several times, using her guile and cunning, as with these soldiers at a German checkpoint.
Those who served in the SOE were awarded both British and French medals. Patricia O’Sullivan received both the Croix de Guerre and the MBE.