Page 151. " a woman called Valerie Kay "


Vera Atkins
Public DomainVera Atkins - Credit: James Day

The character of Valerie Kay may be based on Vera Atkins (1908-2000), who managed the women operatives for the SOE.  After the war, she dedicated herself to investigating the fate of the 118 SOE agents who went missing in France.  She was successful in all but one case.    Vera Atkins - Her Story


Page 151. " In addition to a cover name, she was given a field name "

This was standard protocol for SOE operatives:

Name                                      Codename                  Cover Name               Circuit

Noor Inyat Khan                     Madeleine              Jeanne-Marie Renier        Cinema-Phono

Violette Szabo                             Louise                   Corinne Reine Leroy         Salesman II


Page 153. " G Section had taken no chances with their idea of what French women wore under the Occupation "

It was Vera’s job to look meticulously through pockets, checking labels, laundry tags, examining every article of equipment and clothing for any telltale signs that these people had come from England. Then she completed their disguises with a packet of French cigarettes, a recent French newspaper or perhaps photographs of a ‘relative’ to go in a pocket or a bag.

from Life in Secrets – The Story of Vera Atkins and the Lost Agents of the SOE by Sarah Helm