|BC440||Britons of Distinction - A Tribute to Odette Hallowes, unsigned||£20.00||Buy Now|
|BC440S||Britons of Distinction - A Tribute to Odette Hallowes, signed Matt Croucher GC||£35.00||Buy Now|
|BC440BS||Britons of Distinction-Tribute to Odette Hallowes Single Stamp Cover, Signed Virginia McKenna||£30.00||Sold Out|
|BC440F||Britons of Distinction - A Tribute to Odette Hallowes Full Set of 10 Stamps on one cover||£60.00||Sold Out|
Issue Date: 23/02/2012
Issue Name: Famous Britons - Odette Hallowes
Producer: Buckingham Covers
For Royal Mail's Famous Britains issue, we had the choice of ten different, but equally fascinating individuals to chose from. We picked Odette Hallowes GC as she was an incredibly brave woman, as well as a lovely one (Tony Buckingham got to know her while at Benham). The 1950 film Odette told her story. This cover features 5 of the 10 Britons of Distinction stamps along wih a Buckingham Palace, London SW1 postmark, and it is available signed by Matt Croucher GC.
Odette Sansom Hallowes GC, MBE (28th April 1912 - 13th March 1995)
Odette was born in Amiens. Her father was killed in the First World War at Verdun. As a young child she caught polio which left her paralised and blind for two years. In 1931 she married Roy Sansom and moved with him to England. Early in 1942 the Admiralty appealed for postcards or photographs taken on the Continent for possible war use. Odette had photographs taken around Boulogne, but sent them to the War Office instead of the Admiralty.
As a result she was enrolled in Special Forces of the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (FANY) and trained by Colonel Maurice Buckmaster's Special Operations Executive to be sent into Nazi-occupied France to work with the French underground. She left her three daughters in a convent school. She arrived near Cannes in 1942, where she made contact with her supervisor, Peter Churchill. Using the code name Lise, she brought him funds and acted as his courier. Churchill was betrayed by a double agent, and Odette and Churchill were arrested on 16 April 1943. Under torture by the Gestapo at Fresnes prison in Paris, she stuck to her cover story that Churchill was the nephew of Sir Winston Churchill, and that she was Peter's wife. The hope was that in this way their treatment would be mitigated.
She was condemned to death in June 1943 and sent to Ravensbrück concentration camp. She survived the war and testified against the prison guards at a 1946 war crimes trial. Camp commandant Fritz Suhren had brought her with him when he surrendered to the Americans in the hope that her supposed connections to Churchill might allow him to negotiate his way out of execution. Roy Sansom had died during Odette's imprisonment and she married Peter Churchill in 1947. She was divorced from Churchill in 1956 and married Geoffrey Hallowes in the same year. Hallowes outlived her and died in 2006. Odette Sansom Hallowes was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) and was the only woman to have received the George Cross whilst alive. She was also appointed a Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur for her work with the French resistance.
Want to see our all the covers in our 4th Series? View them all here
Matthew Croucher, GC, VR (born in 1983) is a member of the Royal Marines Reserve and a recipient of the George Cross, the highest British and Commonwealth medal for gallantry not in the face of the enemy, for his extreme valour in risking his life to safeguard the lives of his comrades.
Virginia Anne McKenna OBE is a British stage and screen actress, author and wildlife campaigner. She is best known for the films A Town Like Alice, Carve Her Name with Pride and Born Free, and for her long collaboration with husband Bill Travers.