Virginia Hall was born in Baltimore,United States, on 6th April, 1906. Her father, Edwin Lee Hall, was a cinema owner in Baltimore.
Hall was educated at Radcliffe College where she developed a keen interest in modern languages. She was a talented linguist and could speak French, Italian and German.
In 1931 Hall was appointed to the staff of the American Embassy inPoland. Over the next few years she worked in Estonia, Austria and Turkey, where a serious accident resulted in her losing a leg. As the US State Department had a regulation that forbid the employment of people with “any amputation of a portion of a limb” and in May 1939 she was forced to resign.
Hall was living inFrancewhen theSecond World Warbegan. She joined the French Ambulance Service Unit, but when theGerman Armyinvaded in May 1940, she left forEngland, where she found work in the US Embassy.
In 1941 Hall was recruited by the Special Operations Executive(SOE) and agreed to become a British special agent. Given the code name “Marie”, Hall returned to France and while posing as a reporter for the New York Post helped to set up resistance networks inVichy.
In early 1942 Hall moved to Lyons and worked closely with theFrench Resistancein the area. By the end of the year German officials became suspicious of Hall and she was forced to leave the country.
Hall, now representing theOffice of Strategic Services, returned to France on 21st March 1944. After landing on the Brittany coast she joined the resistance in the Haute-Loire region of the country. TheGestapowere now aware of her activities and was known as the “lady with the limp”. Despite this she was able to inform the Allies that the German General Staff had relocated its headquarters from Lyons to Le Puy.
Awarded the Distinguished Service Cross by PresidentHarry S. Trumanin 1945. She joined the CIA in 1951 where she became an intelligence analyst on French parliamentary affairs.
Virginia Hall, who retired from the CIA in 1966 and died at the Shady Grove Adventist Hospital inWashingtonin 1982.