The Princess Royal pays tribute to Odette Hallowes
Princess Anne made a special visit this week to Paddington Station to pay tribute to Odette Hallowes with the naming of a new train. Odette Hallowes was an agent for the United Kingdoms Special Operations Executive (SOE) during World War II. The SOE conducted espionage, sabotage on reconnaissance on the Axis powers during the war by allying themselves with resistance groups and supplying them with weapons and equipment from England.
Hallowes was imprisoned, interrogated and tortured by the Nazi's during the war but gave them no information. She was one of the few SOE agents who survived Nazi imprisonment and became the first woman to be awarded the George Cross. Her story has been told in both books and films and is one of the most celebrated SOE agents.
The Princess Royal visited Platform 8 at Paddington station to announce that the new Great Western Railway would be named after her. She spoke at the naming saying in part;
"Odette and her fellow agents have set the standard that the members of the Corps aspire to achieve, and we remember with pride their courage, bravery and dedication to our country."
-The Princess Royal
Princess Anne was accompanied by her husband, Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence for the special occasion and volunteers from the First Aid Nurding Yeomanry (FANY) of which the Princess Royal is commandment-in-chief. FANY is an all female charity that was formed in 1907 and was active in both World Wars in both nursing and intelligence.
International Womens Day is celebrated every March and the month marks a chance to honour and remember the women who have come before as well as the women who continue to stand and fight for equality. The Princess Royals special visit helped highlight one of the many women who deserve our gratitude for the sacrifices they have made and the naming of a train is one small way to honour them. xx