Vera Atkins: WWII Spy Boss
Vera's Concerns for Captured Agents
Paris was liberated from Germany in August 1944. Vera and Maurice traveled to France to examine the situation.
Later that same month, Vera returned to Britain. She filed casualty reports and combed through reports about missing agents. Of the 400 F Section agents sent to the field, more than a hundred, including sixteen women, were missing.
Vera requested that every Allied Service and the Red Cross pass on any word of missing F Section agents to her.
In mid-September Vera read a report on F Section wireless operator Marcel Rousset, alias Leopold. In the report, Marcel recounted how his Gestapo captors said they knew he was "Leopold," which he denied. They asked him to help them send messages. He agreed to. However, he deliberately misled them so they sent confusing messages to Britain. Vera knew that Marcel had sent bizarre messages to his superiors at the time he said he had.
Vera underlined names of F Section agents in this report who were on her list of the missing. One agent mentioned was a wireless operator named "Madeleine" whom Vera believed was Noor. Marcel had not seen her but only heard she was held elsewhere.
In March, Vera received alarming information that indicated F Section agents' families might be unable to ever know their fates. An inscription on the prison chart of a man the Germans captured as a spy read "N + N." This referred to prisoners who were to be treated under the Nacht and Nebel order that stated that both resisters and spies were to be made to disappear into the "night and fog."