book cover of Code Name Pauline
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British woman spy who fought the Nazis

During WWII Pearl Witherington parachuted into occupied France to help lead the resistance against the Nazis. The BBC spoke to Kathryn Atwood, who has edited the memoirs of the British undercover agent.

The list of heroes who played a critical role in WWII is filled with famous names, but few people are familiar with Pearl Witherington's story. Perhaps that is because for decades she refused to tell it.

Born and raised in Paris, Witherington fled Nazi-occupied France only to parachute back in as part of Churchill's secret army, the Special Operations Executive.

Witherington was trained as a courier but took charge of 3,500 French resistance fighters when her network's leader was arrested.

"I don't consider I did anything extraordinary," she said. "I did it because I wanted to, because it was useful, because it had to be done."

Kathryn Atwood, the editor of Witherington's memoir Code Name Pauline, relays her remarkable story.

Produced by the BBC's Bill McKenna and Charly Jaffe

Picture This is a series of video features published every Thursday on the BBC News website which illustrates interviews with authors about their new books.