Patricia McBride

     Articles                         Ghost Writing

          Fiction                          Courseware



Only a few days ago Vivienne Doughty was telling millions of TV viewers about the delights of divorce. She was, she insisted, blissfully single. She detested the domesticity of marriage and vowed she would never, ever remarry.


     A lively 51 year old primary school teacher from Ely in Cambridgeshire, Vivienne found that since her divorce, her life had blossomed. ‘I’ve been divorced 10 years and it hadn’t seemed a day too long.’ she told presenter Angus Deayton on last Sundays’ BBC series In Search of Happiness.     But Vivienne now has secret plans to change all that.


     Three months after filming the programme last August, she met her perfect man, or to be more accurate, she was reunited with her childhood sweetheart.


     Vivienne first started courting Malcolm Graham 35 years ago, when she was 16 and they were at school together in Scarborough, North Yorkshire. When Malcolm, now a chemist living in Watford, found himself single again after 27 years of marriage, his thoughts turned once again to Vivienne.


     Malcolm had been devastated when Vivienne ended their four-year relationship back in the Sixties and he tried every trick in the book to win her back. He even used to take new ‘girlfriends’ to the cafe where Vivienne worked to try to make her jealous.


     Nothing worked and he eventually gave up trying. But he never forgot her, even after they both married other people.


     Once Malcolm tracked her down, he had to pluck up all his courage to talk to her.


     But he needn’t have worried, for the pair chatted away as if they had seen each other only yesterday. They decided to meet in Cambridge. ‘We recognised each other immediately,’ said Vivienne, ‘although he is now bald and I’m fat.’ For Malcolm it was love at first sight all over again, but Vivienne was more cautious. She wasn’t pretending when she told Angus how determined she was to keep her independence. But, after several meetings, her feelings began to change.


     The couple met just before Christmas and had planned to drive to Highgate Cemetery to visit the grave of Samuel Teulon, a Victorian architect who built Vivienne’s beautiful house in Cambridgeshire. Vivienne has a passion for researching Teulon’s houses.


     That was when she fell in love with Malcolm for the second time. But only one obstacle remained - her firm dislike ot marriage. As a single women, Vivienne had relished her freedom and pursued an impressive list of interests, including painting, tap dancing, writing, cinema, gardens and visiting friends.


     She gives talk on Glenn Miller to local Women’s Institutes groups and even dresses up in period costume to act as a local tourist guide. Not only did she feel no need for a husband - she scarcely had time for one. In her marriage, she had felt oppressed why what she calls ‘coupledom’ - she detested going to DIY stores and garden centres and even worse were visits to cosy restaurants with other couples, often her ex-husband’s golfing friends. ‘I’d rather sit on the settee with a good book.’ she says.


     Vivienne much preferred life as an independent woman. ‘Marriage is a compromise,’ she says, ‘The individuality of both people is lessened. It’s hard to be a whole person when you’re half of someone else.’


     Vivienne had been thrilled at the opportunity to air her views on prime-time television. She was even more thrilled to learn that it was to be presented by Angus Deayton, who had been a heart-throb of hers for a long time.

     Angus and the crew spent the day with Vivienne recoding her hobbies and interests. They even went to Suffolk to look at a Teulon house she hadn’t seen before. As they rounded the corner on their way to an ‘undiscovered Teulon’ Vivienne told Angus: ‘This is when I get a tingly feeling. It’s like going out with a new man for the first time.’


     Little did she know that she would soon experience that tingly feeling again…


     Malcolm knew all about Vivienne’s aversion to marriage - and about the television programme - but he still decided to take a chance. He took her for a romanic weekend to their old courting grounds, and popped the question in a ruined church on the top of Sylpho Moor near Scarborough.


     Vivienne accepted without hesitation, but made him ask again on the Scarborough beach they used to visit.


     Now they plan to marry in the resort next May. Both have teenage daughters studying A-levels who are delighted with their parents’ romance.

     Vivienne’s daughter, Emily, is going to give her away and Malcolm’s daughter, Catherine, will be the best woman.


     During filming Angus asked Vivienne whom she would like to marry if she had the choice. She was tempted to reply: ‘You, Angus!’ though she hadn't got the nerve.


     But he wouldn't get a look in these days. He can’t hold a angle to Malcolm Graham.





Be a winner by playing the stock market Keith’s way

(The Guardian)


Patricia McBride knew little about shares until going on a beginner’s course.

Here’s what she learned.



Now tell me honestly; do you know what Double Bottoms, Double Tops and Head and Shoulders mean? If you think they’re to do with the size of your rear end, wearing two jumpers, or your dandruff, then you’ve obviously not been on a share investment course.

     They’re all terms used in chart analysis, the esoteric way of forecasting a share’s future based on past price patterns. And its fans claim great things for it.

     I’m not so sure. But at least I have ideas on the subject - invaluable at dinner parties when house price chat turns into windfall share discussions - now that I’ve attended an Investment for Beginners course at Knuston Hall in Northamptonshire.

     This moved me overnight from a complete novice to a degree of expertise and jargon-wielding ability, thanks to lecturer Keith Lee, who took us through the basics at break-neck speed.

     Keith believes that most people who read the financial pages are looking for high returns and super security. That sounded great and we all agreed. Then he told us that you can’t have both. Safety means sacrificing return and the big gains go to high rollers. So, we all groaned.

     Then we cheered up again because while ‘safer’ investments, such as bank and building society savings accounts have their place, investing in the stock market can lose that scary feel when you know what to look for and what to avoid.

     The course offered the following tips:


Investment ideas

Where do you look for share investment ideas? Well, the Guardian City pages for starts. Look for the Market Report with its day-to-day dealings of the City. Keith taught us that these changes - and the short reasons given - can be far more important in setting the direction than its results.     

     Financial magazines such as Investors Chronicle as also a great fund of information. It’s best to read these sources for several weeks to get the all important market feel.

     Once you’ve found a tiny ‘filler’ item that whets your interest, do some more research. Ask the company to send you its annual report. Get to know what’s going on with the industry generally and the company specifically.


Analysing data

The most common approach is ‘fundamental’. This involves looking at the company and its trading environment, then reading the balance sheet to understand its earnings, sales, debt, income statement and so on. Technical analysis looks instead at share price patterns, compares them with other graphs and then offers predictions based on the past. Keith reckoned using both gives the most comprehensive picture.


Knowing when to quit

Selling is far harder than buying, either because you’ve made a killing and are scared the value will go on zooming or because they've dive bombed and you're waiting for the bounce-back.

     The stock-loss principle is Keith’s answer. Suppose you bought shares at 100p. If the price falls to 85p (15% loss) you can sell the shares and live to fight another day. With costs this means you've lost about 20 per cent.

     If, on the other hand, your 100p shares rise to 125p (a 25 percent increase) this new top figure becomes your figure against which the 15 per cent rule is applied. Therefore, if your share price then drops below 106p in this case, you decide to sell.

     For share rises of between 25-50 per cent the stop-loss percentage is reduced to 10 per cent. Bigger gains mean narrowing the stop-loss to 5 per cent. Keith saw the stop-loss in terms of a safety net: the higher the tightrope the closer the net must be to the rope.





Patient Spotlight - Keith Tolliday

(Addenbrookes' Charitable Trust Magazine)


Tuesday, August 05, 2014


Keith had a heart attack on 21 December 2012 and, following an emergency stent operation, he was assessed so staff could devise a suitable rehabilitation programme.


Part of the assessment process at Addenbrooke’s was to ride an exercise bike, which Keith loved. He has found exercise and eating a sensible diet has transformed his health. Previously he had type 2 diabetes. But now that he has lost two stone and walks for at least half an hour a day, the diabetes has gone and he has no heart symptoms at all.


Prior to the new exercise bikes, which were funded by ACT, patients were assessed on bikes that were not always suitable. Alan Darby, one of the Cardiac Rehabilitation Team, said that the new bikes were a huge improvement.


‘The old bikes were only capable of supporting patients who weighed up to 100K (15 and half stone) and required some degree of flexibility to mount. The new bikes can take patients who weigh up to 220K (34 and a half stone) and are much easier to get on to. I hope that one day we can replace all the bikes with this new type.’


Bikes are best for this type of initial assessment because they are not weight-bearing - an important factor when many patients have mobility issues. The bikes measure functional capacity, distance levels and heart-rate response. Alan and his team are able to analyse the data from the tests and set a program for each patient to reduce blood pressure and lower cholesterol. At the end of the program patients are tested again.


All patients at the Rehabilitation Centre are given a Personal Progress Diary. In this diary, also funded by ACT, they record a range of relevant information from blood pressure readings through to goals for improved health.


Keith regularly completed the diary and found it helpful to log and note his progress, although he said most of the changes he made were through sheer willpower.


While Keith used determination to make changes in his life, Alan and the team find that the diaries are a big motivation factor for many patients. For some, it is the first time they have set clear goals for themselves and the satisfaction of seeing improvement provides further motivation to continue.


Keith has plenty of motivation for the future. ‘I want to live as long as possible,’ he said, ‘I exercise regularly and continue to eat healthily. I want to visit family in Australia, especially my grandson who is there working for a year.’







Viv has a sudden change of heart


Divorcee determined to stay single is wooed back to marriage

(Full page - Daily Express)




















Until the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour in December 1941, America had maintained a popular non-interventionist approach to World War II. News of the attack, in which thousands died, caused a rapid change of opinion and President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared war the same day. Already in a state of preparedness, America now needed more troops.


Up until that time, women served only as nurses in the Military. Resistance from the public, and therefore from politicians, meant that there was a significant reluctance to admit women into the armed forces. Opposition was based on beliefs about the traditional role of women as wives and mothers as well as protectiveness towards them. Indeed, one congressman said: ‘Take the women into the armed services… who then will maintain the home fires… nurture the children, teach them patriotism.. make men of them… so they, too, may march away to war.’


There had been attempts to allow women into the military earlier in 1941, but these continued to be met with derision in Congress even after American joined the war. But things were changing and there was a growing realisation that the country needed more troops. Added to this was the fact that women now had voting rights and for the first time there were women in government. These politicians pushed through legislation that eventually led to agreement to allow American women to join the forces, albeit in non-combat roles.


A huge recruitment drive began. Senior Officers toured the country giving talks encouraging women to volunteer. Posters urged women to ‘Share the Deeds of Victory,’ ‘Free a Marine to Fight,’ or ‘Take this great opportunity’. Stirring films in cinemas urged them to join the forces, showing the variety of roles they would undertake, always with the goal of releasing a man to fight. Previously in the media women had been depicted as home-makers, vamps or movie stars. Now they were portrayed with their heads held high, shoulders back, looking smart, independent and determined. The call to arms was a resounding success with almost 400,000 women volunteering to serve in or with the armed forces.


But opposition amongst many of the public remained and rumours about their morals spread throughout the country. One widespread rumour was that all serving women were prostitutes supplied with condoms by the military. This resistance to accept women was sometimes echoed in the treatment women received from the men they served with. Some resented women taking their jobs, especially when this meant they would have to go away to fight. Others simply would not believe they were up to the mark. They were soon proved wrong.


Women served in the WACs (Army), the WAVES (Navy Women’s Reserve), The Marine Corps Women’s Reserve, SPARs (Coast Guard Women’s Reserve), WASPS (Women Airforce Service Pilots), the Navy Nurse Corps and the Army Nurses Corps. Serving at home and abroad, they fulfilled vital jobs. The WASPs, for example, clocked up 60 million flying miles, transporting thousands of aircraft between factories and military bases. They also ferried cargo and took part in simulated strafing and target missions. Women in the forces served in a wide range of roles such as radio operators, secretaries, cryptographers, laboratory technicians, aircraft maintenance, drivers, aviation operators, and engineers.


In 1942 WACs began to be deployed overseas, mostly in Europe, but others went to the Far East and the Pacific. Although women were not allowed to fight in combat, nevertheless 16 women in the Army Nurse Corps were killed, 60 women were taken Prisoner of War in the Philippines and a total of 432 died. But their bravery was recognised - 1600 service women were decorated for bravery and 565 WACs won combat decorations in the Pacific Theatre.


General MacArthur, speaking at the end of the war, summed up the view of many. He praised the WACS, calling them his ‘best soldiers’ adding that they were ‘better disciplined, worked harder than men, and complained less.’


Women at War


Warfare History Network Magazine

Novmber 2014

I Knew I never wanted to be a fat bride


Cambridge News

22.11.14


WHEN Laura King saw Chris Wheal’s advert on a dating website she breathed a sigh of relief. Here, finally, was a man who didn’t seem to need to ‘big himself up’ as so many others did. Instead, he sounded kind and down-to-earth, so she decided to contact him.

Nonetheless, she didn’t rush into anything, and it was a few weeks later in June 2010 when they finally met. Wetherspoon’s, Chris’ choice, was hardly her idea of a romantic first date, but she liked what she saw and the couple began dating regularly, often enjoying big meals out together.

Eighteen months later Chris, then 29, took Laura to London to see the stage show of The Lion King as a treat for her 26th birthday. Unknown to Laura, Chris had a surprise in mind. They went to a steak restaurant after the show and, as their first course was taken away, Chris anxiously asked Laura what she wanted for dessert. She loves sweet things Chris was in for a shock when she refused, saying she was too full.

This wasn’t going to plan at all, and it took quite a bit of persuading to get her to order one. When it arrived, she was so busy chatting that she didn’t notice the words ‘Marry Me’ piped around the edge of the plate and almost scooped them off absentmindedly. Chris’ romantic gesture nearly went unnoticed. He had to take away her spoon and get her to read the message. Her smile gave him all the answer he needed.

“I hardly ate anything during the meal,” Chris says, “and Laura asked if everything was OK as it was unusual, because we both love steak. I tried to pass it off as tiredness but it was really nerves. The next few minutes while we were waiting for the dessert to arrive was a nervous blur.”

The couple decided to delay their wedding for two years until Laura finished training to be a midwife. But because wedding venues get booked up well ahead, they started looking for the perfect setting for their special day immediately. Eventually, they settled on Parklands, Quendon Hall, a lovely old manor house in Essex with ideal grounds for romantic wedding photos.

Laura now had her dream venue, but knew that her dream wedding couldn't happen if she looked as she did. Seeing some recent photos of herself, she decided that something had to go. The woman she saw in the photos wasn’t the woman she wanted to see wearing white as she walked down the aisle. So she signed up to Weightwatchers in Royston, and was horrified to learn that she needed to lose five-and-a-half stone.

“I knew I never wanted to be a fat bride,” she says, “and I’d wanted to lose weight for a while. Chris’ proposal gave me the motivation I needed. Luckily, when I told Chris, he said we should do it as a couple and joined too.”

Chris agrees: “I always wanted to lose weight because I felt a little out of place socialising with friends, trying to meet new people or when at work. I just needed the right catalyst and Laura was it.”

When he was weighed they found that he needed to lose exactly the same amount - a grand total of eleven stones between them. That’s 154 lbs or a whopping 70 kilos - more than many people weigh.

While it took Chris 20 months to reach his goal, it took Laura 51 weeks to shed the weight. It wasn’t always easy. As a trainee midwife, Laura not only studied at Anglia Ruskin University, but also did long placements at Harlow Hospital. “The combination of shift work and studying sometimes made keeping to the diet difficult,” she says. “There were limited choices of meals at night at the hospital, and I’d come home too tired to think about cooking healthy low-calorie meals.

“But I had a lot of support from the group leader and Chris. I learned that if I had a bad day, I should just wipe the slate clean and start again next day.”

Not long after the engagement, with the wedding still two years away, Laura went looking at wedding dresses with her mother. “I had no intention of buying one,” she says. “After all, I still had all that weight to lose. I just wanted to see what was around. But then I found it. The perfect dress. Even though I was a size 18, I bought it in a size 14 and, each time my motivation flagged, I got it out of the wardrobe and held it against myself.

“When it slipped over my hips for the first time it was amazing. It felt like my biggest achievement ever.’

But only Laura and her mother knew this secret. Chris and all their family and friends kept asking her if she’d got a dress yet. She always fobbed them off. There was always the worry that it wouldn’t fit for the big day, and in fact it didn’t.

It was too big.

It had to be taken in by several inches.

Planning any wedding is a huge project, and Laura was studying for her finals as the big day drew nearer. She even turned down a request to be bridesmaid for a close friend who lived some distance away. “I just couldn’t spare the time to go for several dress fittings,” she says. On her graduation day Laura looked slender and radiant in her gown and mortarboard.

At the wedding [IN DATE], the couple were slim and stunning. Laura, a 5ft 7” size 10 brunette, wore a figure-hugging, strapless dress that showed off her new figure to perfection. 6ft Chris looked equally good in his morning suit and top hat. Laura comments that the best compliment was seeing the surprise on the faces of people who hadn’t seen them for a while.

As the music started, Chris knew that Laura was walking down the aisle, but he deliberately didn’t look at her until she was standing next to him. “When I saw her I was speechless,” he says. “I couldn’t take my eyes off her, she was so beautiful. It felt like it was just us two in the room.”

Preparing for the honeymoon in Mexico, Laura enjoyed choosing tiny bikinis, something she would have hesitated about before. They put on just a little weight there, but quickly got back to counting points on their return home, and are back to their target weight.

Laura now works as a midwife at Harlow hospital, and Chris is enjoying a new job in sales and support at a mobile phone company in London. With their new home in Royston - and their new figures, they have a wonderful life ahead of them.



Important Women in World War 2: Female Spies

• March 13, 2015         WARFARE HISTORY NETWORK

By Patricia McBride




As Nurses, Reservists and Corpsmen, those who served in the new female auxiliary units became some of the most important women in World War 2.

by Patricia McBride

Until the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, America had maintained a popular non-interventionist position with World War 2. News of the attack caused a rapid change of opinion, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared war the same day. Already in a state of preparedness, America now needed more troops.


Up until that time, women served only as nurses in the military; the nation was reluctant to admit them into the armed forces. Public opposition was based on beliefs about the traditional role of women as wives and mothers, as well as their sense of protection towards them. Indeed, one congressman said: ‘Take the women into the armed services…who then will maintain the home fires… nurture the children, teach them patriotism… make men of them…so they, too, may march away to war.’


Women Begin to Join the Armed Forces


There had been attempts to allow women into the military earlier in 1941, but they were met with derision in Congress, even after Americans joined the war. Nonetheless, there was a growing realization that the country needed more troops, and the country was changing. Women now had voting rights and for the first time, there were women in government. Politicians pushed through legislation that eventually led to American women joining the forces, albeit in non-combat roles.

A huge recruitment drive began. Senior Officers toured the country giving talks encouraging women to volunteer. Posters urged women to ‘Share the Deeds of Victory,’ ‘Free a Marine to Fight,’ or ‘Take this great opportunity’. Stirring films in cinemas urged them to join up, portraying the roles they could undertake, always with the goal of releasing a man to fight. Previously in the media, women had been depicted as home-makers, vamps or movie stars; Now they were portrayed with their heads held high, shoulders back, looking smart, independent and determined. The call to arms was a resounding success with almost 400,000 women volunteering to serve in or with the armed forces.

But opposition amongst the public remained, and rumors spread throughout the country. One widespread story was that all serving women were prostitutes supplied with condoms by the military. This resistance to accept women was sometimes echoed in the treatment women received from the men with which they served. Some resented women taking their jobs, especially when their presence meant they would have to go away to fight. Others simply would not believe they were up to the mark. They were soon proved wrong.


Reservists, Auxiliary Corpsmen & Nurses

Women served in the Women’s Army Corps (WACs), in the Naval Reserves (WAVEs), the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve, the Coast Guard Women’s Reserve (SPARs), as Air Force service pilots (WASPs), in the Navy Nurse Corps and Army Nurse Corps. These reservists and nurses became some of the most important women in World War 2, supporting Allied efforts at home and abroad. The WASPs, for example, clocked up 60 million flying miles, transporting thousands of aircraft between factories and military bases. They also ferried cargo and took part in simulated strafing and target missions. Others were radio operators, secretaries, cryptographers, laboratory technicians, aircraft maintenance, drivers, aviation operators, and engineers.

In 1942, WACs began to be deployed overseas—mostly in Europe—but others went to the Far East and the South Pacific. Sixteen women in the Army Nurse Corps were killed, 60 women were taken Prisoner of War in the Philippines and a total of 432 died. Their bravery was recognized—1600 service women were decorated for bravery and 565 WACs won combat decorations in the Pacific Theatre.

General MacArthur, speaking at the end of the war, summed up the view of many. He praised the WACS, calling them his ‘best soldiers,’ adding that they were ‘better disciplined, worked harder than men, and complained less.’

 

Patricia McBride is a freelance journalist living in Cambridge, England. She is interested in social history and particularly in women’s history. She is also a travel writer and author of several self-help books and one novel.

 




Female Spies like Virginia Hall, Amy Thorpe and Barbara Lauwers were large supporters of Allied war efforts, and some of the most important women in World War 2.

by Patricia McBride

13.3.15



Mention spies and most people will think of James Bond or Ethan Hunt from Mission Impossible, but most people would struggle to name some notable female spies—apart perhaps from Mata Hari—yet they have always existed. In fact, female spies were some of the most important women during World War 2, subverting the enemy and collecting vital intelligence for Allied forces. Women like:


Virginia Hall


Born in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1906, Virginia Hall attended schools in Germany, France and Austria, becoming multi-lingual. She planned a diplomatic career and was working in the American embassy in Warsaw when a hunting accident led to the amputation of one leg, dashing her career hopes. Undeterred, she joined the British Special Operations Executive. Her work for them in France and Spain led to her being awarded the M.B.E., or Member of the British Empire.

Early in 1944, she joined the London branch of the OSS (Office of Strategic Services) and was sent to France. She was urged to use facial disguises by the OSS, but had another idea: she turned herself into an old woman. With her long skirts hid her wooden leg—code name “Cuthbert”—it was the ideal disguise; no one thought twice about an elderly woman limping and using a walking stick. Eventually, the Germans got wind of her, and Virginia became a prominent member on their most wanted list. Posters showing a very accurate drawing of her face were displayed throughout German occupied Europe, but she was never recognised.

By day she was an elderly rural woman roaming about the countryside, but by night, she contacted the resistance in France and performed vital work for the war effort. She mapped drop zones for supplies, found safe houses for escaping airmen, helped train three resistance until the Allies took over her group in September 1944.

She was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross a year later—the only female civilian to receive this honor. She died, aged 76, in Rockville, Maryland.

To learn more about Virginia Hall’s role in World War 2, read our full story online.


Amy Elizabeth Thorpe


If Virginia Hall’s story could fill a novel, Amy Thorpe’s would fill a trilogy (and a racy one at that).

Born in Minneapolis in 1910, Amy was reputed to be one of the most successful spies of her time. She married Joseph Pack, a Second Secretary at the British Embassy in 1934, but their marriage was always shaky, and both had extramarital affairs. Nevertheless, she followed him on his diplomatic postings, where she made useful contacts, gaining information and making links with the British Special Operations Executive and the OSS.

Before moving to Washington, she already had espionage experience in the Spanish Civil War, possibly working for both sides. She helped smuggle rebel Nationalists to safety, coordinated the evacuation of British Embassy staff, and transported Red Cross supplies to Franco’s forces. Her activities stopped when she was denounced as a Republican spy, reputedly by a jealous woman.

In 1941, when living in Washington, the British asked her to access the naval codes of the collaborationist French Vichy Government. She achieved this by developing a relationship with Charles Brousse, a married man and an aide to the Vichy Ambassador. In a story worthy of Hollywood, they entered the embassy, drugged a guard and his dog, stripped naked to convince another guard they were using the embassy to conduct an affair (he backed away in embarrassment), and thus bought time to let in an OSS safecracker. He photographed the books, and returned them to the safe. The team’s success in stealing the codes is believed to have helped the Allies conquer North Africa.

Mrs. Brousse knew Amy well and treated her as a close family friend. However, when she found out about the affair, she divorced her husband. Amy married Charles Brousse after the war and they lived in a medieval French chateau. She died aged 53 at Castelnou, France.


Barbara Lauwers


Born in Eastern Europe in 1914, Barbara Lauwers became a junior lawyer and journalist, and moved to America with her husband in 1941. Within hours of becoming an American citizen in 1943, she joined the U.S. army and was quickly assigned to the OSS.

She was sent to Italy following the arrival of the Allied armies, and quickly became involved in Operation Sauerkraut. She interviewed prisoners to identify Czech dissidents who would be willing to cross the front line and distribute propaganda to damage troops’ morale. Using Czech and Slovak typewriters borrowed from the Vatican, she produced thousands of leaflets urging readers to ‘Shed this German yoke of shame, cross over to the partisans!’ Within a week, more than six hundred Czech soldiers crossed over to the Allies. Many carried Barbara’s leaflets.

As part of this program, she invented the ‘League of Lonely Women,’ aimed to convince German soldiers that their wives and girlfriends were being unfaithful to them. To this end, they used propaganda material to inform soldiers that if they wore a paper heart pinned to their lapel, a member of the League would offer him ‘companionship’. It was so believable that a U.S. newspaper ran a story about the scheme, believing it to be true.

On April 6, 1945, Lauwers was awarded the Bronze Star for her part in Operation Sauerkraut.

When she and her husband reunited after the war, they found they had grown apart and divorced. She later married a Polish Aristocrat, and died aged 95 in 2009.

Patricia McBride is a freelance journalist living in Cambridge, England. She is interested in social history and particularly in women’s history. She is also a travel writer and author of several self-help books and one novel.