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Intrepid Woman : Betty Lussier's Secret War, 1942-1945 - Betty Lussier

Intrepid Woman

Betty Lussier's Secret War, 1942-1945

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Intrepid Woman is the memoir of Betty Lussier, who as a young woman went to Britain to help in the fight against the impending Nazi invasion—first as a pilot with the British Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) and then as a spy with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) behind the lines in France. A college student in Maryland when the war began, Lussier traveled across the Atlantic on a small Norwegian freighter through waters infested with prowling Nazi U-boats. Armed with a private pilot's license, she was accepted for service in the ATA and was soon ferrying planes and pilots for the Royal Air Force (RAF). In addition to describing her daily flight work, she vividly illustrates life in wartime England: one egg a month, no heat, and nightly dashes to the air raid shelters as the Luftwaffe circled overhead and dropped their deadly cargo.

After the Normandy invasion Lussier was bitterly disappointed to learn that women pilots were still barred from delivering planes to the combat zones on the continent. Undeterred, she complained to Sir William S. Stephenson, her father's RAF colleague during World War I, who later headed British intelligence in the United States. He steered her to the newly formed American OSS, which was recruiting field agents. Lussier signed on as a counterespionage operative and was trained to identify and apprehend enemy agents, to analyze Nazi radio messages that had been intercepted by the famed Enigma machine, and to disguise them as misinformation for use by the U.S. military. Lussier was assigned to a "SLU" (Special Liaison Unit) and was shipped out to serve at military headquarters in Algeria, Sicily, Italy, and France. She relates her experiences with this unit, which helped set up a chain of double agents and transmit misinformation to the enemy, in compelling detail taking the reader through many tense OSS operations. Her story ends with the Allied victory and her return to civilian life, forever changed by her wartime experience.

List of Illustrationsp. IX
Forewordp. XI
Acknowledgmentsp. XIII
Flying With the Air Transport Auxiliary
Life in Maryland: The Early Yearsp. 3
Betty's Favorite Day: Crossing the Ocean to Englandp. 25
Welcome to London and Maidenheadp. 34
It's Official: I'm an ATA Student Pilot!p. 46
Duty Pilot Adventuresp. 57
Old Loves, New Friendsp. 69
Adventures and Misadventures on Land and in the Airp. 83
Accidents Will Happenp. 95
The Seeds of Discontent: No Continental Service for the Womenp. 102
A Well-Deserved Breakp. 115
Ferry Pool Number Fivep. 127
Kenny, Cousin Jack, Scotty, and Stephensonp. 134
D-Day Nearsp. 147
Time for a Change: Resignationp. 153
On the Ground With the X-2p. 167
Epiloguep. 203
Abbreviations and Acronymsp. 205
Some of the ATA Cross Cross-Country Routesp. 207
Referencesp. 209
Indexp. 211
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9781591144496
ISBN-10: 1591144493
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 240
Published: 15th October 2010
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.8 x 15.6  x 2.01
Weight (kg): 0.48