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Phyllis Latour

Phyllis Latour
Watercolor on 9″ x 12″ watercolor paper
The latest addition to the ‘She Changed the World’ Collection!

Phyllis Latour (born 1921) spent most of her life as an unknown hero. After her godmother’s father was killed by Nazis, soon leading to Phyllis’ godmother committing suicide, Latour joined the Special Operations Executive to avenge their lives. After exhaustive physical and mental training from the end of 1943 into early 1944, including learning from a freed catburglar on how to stealthily access buildings and to move along rooftops, she was parachuted into Orne, Normandy in May of 1944.

She worked as a spy, relaying messages about locations and troop movements to the Allies, under the codenames Genevieve, Plus Fours, Lampooner and Paulette, portraying a teenage girl who rode her bicycle around the area. On occasion her information was used incorrectly and innocent Germans were killed. Phyllis would actually attend their funerals, a personal connection one rarely hears about wartime killings. Until France was liberated in August 1944 she relayed 135 secret messages.

After the War Phyllis, or Pippa to her friends, lived a life of anonymity, married and had four children. It wasn’t until the early 2000’s that she even told her children of her time in the War after they found out about her service on the internet. They urged her to get her medals and commendations, which she did without fanfare and to appease her kids. She was presented the award of Chevalier de l’Ordre National de la Legion d’Honneur, France’s highest decoration on November 29, 2014.