“Code Name: Lise” the heroism of Odette Sansom, an agent with SOE. NBC’s Stephanie Gosk sat down with the book’s author and Sansom’s granddaughter to learn more.

Victoria Cross awarded posthumously on the testimony from an enemy officer.

(Royal New Zealand Air Force) VC awarded solely on the testimony from the enemy.

Nola Trigg showing her children, John and Wayne, their late fathers’ medals, the Victoria Cross and Distinguished Flying Cross. A photograph of their father can be seen on the wireless behind them. New Zealander, Flying Officer Allan Trigg was a Liberator pilot attached to 200 Squadron RAF Coastal command who was posthumously awarded the VC on the testimony of the captain of the German U-boat he sunk.

Oberleutant Klemens Schamong explained:

“We opened deadly fire from our ‘two 20mm cannons’ and the first salvo at a distance of 2000m set the plane on fire.
Despite this, Trigg continued his attack. He did not give up as we thought and hoped. His plane flew deeper and deeper. We could see our deadly fire piercing through his hull. Such a gallant fighter as Trigg would have been decorated in Germany with the highest medal or order”.
(RNZAF Official photo)

Original wartime caption: One day in August 1943 Flying Officer Trigg of the R.N.Z.A.F. undertook, as captain and pilot, a patrol in a Liberator although he had not previously made any operational sorties in that type of aircraft. After searching for eight hours a surfaced U- boat was sighted. Flying Officer Trigg immediately prepared to attack. During the approach, the aircraft received many hits from the submarine’s anti-aircraft guns and burst into flames, which quickly enveloped the tail. There could have been no hesitation or doubt in Trigg’s mind. He maintained his course in spite of the already precarious condition of his aircraft and executed a masterly attack. Skimming over the U-boat at less than 50 feet with anti-aircraft fire entering his opened bomb doors. Flying Officer Trigg dropped his bombs on and around the U-boat where they exploded with devastating effect. A short distance further on the Liberator dived into the sea with her gallant captain and crew. The U-boat sank within twenty minutes and some of her crew were picked up later in a rubber dinghy that had broken loose from the Liberator. Flying Officer Trigg, missing believed killed, has been awarded the V.C. (Picture issued 1943). (IWM)

Artist’s impression based on account

André Bloch: SOE Wireless Operator

On the night of 6/7 September 1941 André Bloch parachuted from a converted RAF Whitley bomber onto farmland near Tendu north of Argenton-sur-Greuse in France and after burying his parachute and protective clothing made his way to Paris to become the wireless operator of a clandestine circuit called AUTOGIRO commanded by another SOE agent called Pierre de Vomécourt.

From 15 September to 12 November 1941 Bloch was the only wireless operator in northern France and all the wireless detection capabilities of the Germans were being used to track him down. Although aware of the dangers Bloch was in regular contact with London.

Sometime in October he suspected his safe house was under surveillance and with the assistance of Pierre de Vomécourt he moved to another safe house in Le Mans and after his wireless was delivered by a member of the resistance Bloch contacted London and arranged for weapons and sabotage stores to be dropped to AUTOGIRO. This message dated 12 November 1941 was the last signal received from Andre Bloch.

As was standard procedure home station (the wireless station in England) kept his wireless channel open and the frequency was monitored until confirmation was received of his arrest. According to de Vomécourt Bloch was denounced by a neighbour for being a Jew but it is now believed he remained too long on the air at the same address. 

His wireless and codes were never used by the Germans to play back his set to London and supports the belief 27-year-old André Bloch refused to pass his codes to the Gestapo whilst being tortured. Sometime in February 1942 Bloch was executed by firing squad at Mont-Valerian.