My left leg was amputated below the knee as a result of a hunting accident.
Although I wanted to be a Foreign Service Officer, the United States State Department denied me the opportunity to achieve my dream because of my gender and disability. I have to admit that I was furious.
Despite this disappointment, I later became a spy during World War II, and many among the enemy considered me the most dangerous spy of all.
I established resistance units and trained them to fight the enemy. I helped escaped prisoners of war and airmen who were shot down. I helped get weapons and money to resistance groups and reported enemy movements. My units derailed trains, downed phone lines, destroyed bridges, and killed and captured hundreds of the enemy.
The enemy’s secret police wanted desperately to stop me. They tried to track my radio signals, but I stayed on the move, and they never captured me.
The enemy called me “the limping lady.” My wooden leg with an aluminum foot was heavy, weighing more than seven pounds, but I found ways to disguise it and my limp. For a while, I dressed up as an elderly woman and walked with a shuffle to avoid being detected.
For my service during the war, I was awarded the Distinguished Silver Cross. I retired from the CIA in 1966 when I was 60 years old.
ANSWER TO WHO AM I?
I am Virginia Hall.
You can learn more about me at http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/wanted-the-limping-lady-146541513 and in Judith L. Pearson’s The Wolves at the Door: The True Story of America’s Greatest Female Spy, Elizabeth P. McIntosh’s Sisterhood of Spies, and Sonia Purnell’s A Woman of No Importance, which the upcoming film A Woman of No Importance is based on.