Phyllis Latour SOE Wireless Operator in France

Phyllis ‘Pippa’ Latour MBE, Legion of Honour (France), 1939-45 Star, French and German Star, Croix de Guerre (France).

South African born Latour moved to England to join the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) but due to be able to speak fluent French and having spent time in the country she later came to the attention of the French Section of the Special Operations Executive (SOE).

After volunteering for hazardous missions and passing selection she completed the technically challenging training at the Wireless and Security School at Fawley Court, Buckinghamshire.

On the night of 1 May 1944 she parachuted into Normandy to join the Scientist circuit as their wireless operator and was constantly on the move to avoid being tracked down by German wireless direction-finders during which she sent over 135 messages to London to support the French Resistance whilst posing as a teenager whose family had moved away from the industrial areas to avoid Allied air raids.

Pippa1

After the war she married an Engineer with the surname Doyle and she never discussed her war service with her family until her children found an article about her on the internet in 2000. She now lives in Auckland, New Zealand and at the time of writing (November 2021) she has just turned 100 years old and is thought to be the only surviving member of SOE’s French Section.

Author: Alan Malcher

Military historian and defence commentator

3 thoughts on “Phyllis Latour SOE Wireless Operator in France”

  1. Dear Alan,

    Thank you so much for providing such wonderful posts. Your work is such a treat! I’m going to set aside some time during the next couple of weeks for a good read.

    Best wishes and a deep thank you.

    Deborah Harris

    Like

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