Peter Churchill

Peter Churchill, the son of a consular officer, was born in Amsterdam on 14th January, 1909. He attended Cambridge University where he was an outstanding athlete and played for his country at hockey.

During the Second World War he became an intelligence officer and eventually joined the Special Operations Executive (SOE).

In January 1942 he was sent to occupied France where he supplied money to the Maquis and assessed the potential for helping the French Resistance. After returning to England he was promoted to captain.

Churchill returned to France in August 1942 where he helped Andre Girard establish the Spindle Network. Odette Sansom was recruited as the group's radio operator. The main object of this network was to help direct aerial delivery of arms and ammunition for the Maquis.

The Spindle Network was infiltrated by spies and on 16th April, 1943, Churchill and Sansom were arrested by Hugo Bleicher of Abwehr. They claimed they were husband and wife and related to Winston Churchill. They hoped that this story would help them receive better treatment while in prison.

Both Churchill and Sansom were tortured by the Gestapo before being sent to concentration camps. However, they were not executed and they were both still alive when liberated by the Allies at the end of the war.

Churchill and Odette Sansom were married in 1947 but divorced in 1955. Churchill wrote several books about his wartime experiences including Of Their Own Choice (1952), Duel of Wits (1953), The Spirit of the Cage (1954) and By Moonlight (1958). Peter Churchill died in 1972.

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