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Virginia Hall file photo [23265]

Virginia Hall

Given NameVirginia
Born6 Apr 1906
Died8 Jul 1982
CountryUnited States, United Kingdom


ww2dbaseVirginia Hall was born to Edwin Lee Hall and Barbara V. Hall in Baltimore, Maryland, United States in 1906. She attended Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States; Barnard College of Columbia University in New York, New York, United States; and then at various institutions in France, Germany, and Austria. In 1931, she became a Consular Service clerk at the American Embassy in Warsaw, Poland. In 1932, while hunting in Turkey, she accidentally shot herself in the leg, leading to its amputation at the knee. She resigned from the US Department of State in 1939. When the European War began, she found herself in Paris, France. She served with the French Ambulance Service until France capitulated in mid-1940. Traveling to Britain, she joined the Special Operations Executive (SOE), which sent her back to France in Aug 1941, where she would remain until Nov 1942, ostensibly as a correspondent for the newspaper New York Post but inactuality a member of a anti-Vichy cell. In Nov 1942, German troops marched into Vichy France, and Hall, whose presence was known by the Germans, was on the wanted list; she narrowly escaped to Spain, remaining in Madrid for some time on SOE assignment. In Jul 1943, she was secretly made an honorary Member of the Order of the British Empire after her return to Britain. In Mar 1944, she joined the Special Operations Branch branch of the US Office of Strategic Services (OSS), which assigned her back to France according to her wishes. The SOE delivered "Marcelle Montagne", code name "Diane", to Bretagne, France by a motor torpedo boat for her OSS assignment, and she made her way to central France to make contact with her cell. In this new role, she mapped drop zones for supplies and commandos, established safe houses, helped train three battalions of Free French guerrilla forces, and linked up with a Jedburgh team after the Allied forces invaded France. In one episode, one group of Free French guerrillas she trained demolished a bridge and then engaged a trapped German convoy, killing 150 German soldiers; this event, among many others, were cited in OSS Director William Donovan's award citation of a Distinguished Service Cross for Hall, which would be presented to her in secret in Sep 1945. Donovan and US President Harry Truman wanted to publicize this event, as she was the only female civilian Distinguished Service Cross recipient during the WW2-era, but she refused, citing her active status as an OSS operative. She was discharged from the OSS when Truman disbanded the organization. She married fellow OSS agent Paul Gaston Goillot in 1950. In 1951, both Hall and her husband joined the newly established Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), which was formed on the foundation of the OSS. She retired from the CIA in 1966. She passed away at the Shady Grove Adventist Hospital in Rockville, Maryland, United States in 1982 and was buried at the Druid Ridge Cemetery in Pikesville, Maryland.

United States National Archives

Last Major Revision: Jul 2015

Virginia Hall Interactive Map

Virginia Hall Timeline

6 Apr 1906 Virginia Hall was born in Baltimore, Maryland, United States.
8 Jul 1982 Virginia Hall passed away at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital, Rockville, Maryland, United States.


Estonian drivers license for Virginia Hall, 1938.Virginia Hall, circa 1941, a studio portrait likely taken for her passport.
See all 6 photographs of Virginia Hall

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1. Cat says:
10 Oct 2019 06:26:09 AM

Virginia was the best!

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» Donovan's Memorandum to Truman Regarding Virginia Hall

Virginia Hall Photo Gallery
Estonian drivers license for Virginia Hall, 1938.Virginia Hall, circa 1941, a studio portrait likely taken for her passport.
See all 6 photographs of Virginia Hall

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