VE Day: Plea to name Somerset road after WWII spy Odette Hallowes

  • Published
Odette HallowesImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Odette Hallowes was awarded the George Cross, an MBE and the French Légion d'honneur and was the subject of a 1950 film starring Anna Neagle

A petition has been set up to have a road named after World War Two's most highly decorated female spy.

Odette Hallowes, who lived near Wellington, Somerset, when she was recruited, was awarded the George Cross for her bravery .

She was interrogated at least 14 times by the Gestapo, who tortured her and pulled all her toenails out.

Petitioner Nancy Powell-Brace, said: "In her darkest times she would close her eyes and remember Somerset."

Mrs Hallowes was living in Red Ball in 1942, when she was recruited to work in occupied France as a Special Operations Executive.

In 1943, she was betrayed and arrested and, for the next two years, was tortured.

Image source, Des Schollum Collection
Image caption,
Odette endured solitary confinement for over three months in Ravensbrück concentration camp, but she refused to betray her fellow agents

Despite enduring solitary confinement for months in Ravensbrück concentration camp, she refused to betray her fellow agents.

Ms Powell-Brace said Ms Hallowes' memories of Somerset had helped her to "get through her torture and imprisonment",

"In her darkest times during solitary confinement she would close her eyes and remember the people and the views of Somerset," she said.

"And how kind the county had been to her."

A petition has been launched to persuade property developer Bovis Homes to name a road on a nearby estate in Ms Hallowes' honour.

"It's about a mile from where Odette lived and we thought it would be nice, with the 75th anniversary of VE day this year," she said.

"The area was was very, very special to her and we should be acknowledging and honouring that."

Image source, Odette’s Family
Image caption,
Sophie Parker, pictured as a young child with her grandmother Odette, said it would mean a "huge amount" to her family

Sophie Parker, Odette's granddaughter, said it would mean a "huge amount" to her family.

"We know the importance Somerset held for her," she said.

"It is why she chose to go back there after the war.

In a statement, Bovis Homes said it was not "responsible for naming the roads" but would "highlight this petition to the local authority for their consideration".

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