This summer, my reading has been mired in several French Resistance biographies and historical fiction, including Caroline Moorehead’s A Train in Winter and Clare Mulley’s The Spy Who Loved, a fascinating and detailed biography on Christine Granville. Granville is AKA by her birth name, Countess Maria Krystyna Janina Skarbek, the fearless Nazi fighting courier of Polish-Jewish heritage, and member of Section D, British Special Operations Executive (SOE), where her code name was “Willing”(McIntyre). For her service in WWII, Granville was ultimately was awarded both the George Medal and the Croix de Guerre (not the drawn image above, which is the Croix de Lorraine, the symbol for the French Resistance).


I’m really interested in language, symbolic, design, and I’ve been investigating the Resistance members’ code books. Mulley’s book includes a few images of Granville’s code book, and variations of coded alphabet she used during the War. I wrote out Granville’s code so I could try to imagine how it felt to transfer from mind to paper.

Version A

  • A *Lointaines
  • B * Sont
  • C * Mes
  • D* Amours
  • E* Meridionales
  • F* Perdu
  • G* Mes
  • H Souvenirs
  • I* Des
  • J* Heureuses
  • K* Annees
  • L* L’Oppressions
  • M* La
  • N* Haine
  • O* Passions
  • P* Infernales
  • O* Mont
  • R* Raul
  • Le Bonheur
  • U* Et La
  • V* Tranquilleite
  • W* Je
  • X* Voudrais
  • Y* Mainenant
  • Z* Oublier

Version B

Quittant les fumes les grisailles des villes fuyant rapidement vers les grandes echappes j’ai trouve le Bonheur f’une existence tranquille au foyer lumineux d’une femme adore.

Version C

L’ocean qui respire la femme qui soupier L’Enfant qui ja rire rejouissent mon Coeur plenitude immense la vie qui commence secoule en silence perfection du Bonheur.

[I just learned that Granville is rumored to have been “…the model for Vesper Lynd, the female agent in Ian Fleming’s first James Bond novel, “Casino Royale.” *]

Definitely reads I recommend!

Reads & References



Image source, Croix de Lorraine, my own. Coded alphabet found and hand copied from Clare Mulley’s The Spy Who Loved. Nancy Wake (bottom thumbnail).