Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Portable ops, WW2 style - and W0RW's lending library

A recent discussion on one of the io.groups that I follow reminded me of a book I read about seven years ago. With the popularity of outdoor operations with modern rigs these days, I thought it might be worthy of a re-post here, contrasting our excursions with those of what may have been radio's first portable operators, performing their service under duress.

The book is Wolves at the Door which tells the story of Virginia Hall, an American OSS agent and telegraph operator in France during World War II. Quite a bit of information on her can be found on Wikipedia.

If that whets your appetite, I can recommend the book to flesh out some of the details, including her training in Morse Code and radio operation.

Paul W0RW has a second biography on her, the more recently published (2019) A Woman of no Importance available to be borrowed from his Lending Library.

Although both books are available on Amazon, you may be interested in the other books contained within Paul's library.

Thanks for the info, Paul! 

The image of Virginia Hall and one of her assistants, Edmund Labrat, is that of an oil painting by Jeffrey Bass, completed in 2006 titled "Les Marguerites Fleuriront ce Soir" (The Daisies Will Bloom at Night). An explanation of the painting's title can be found here.




  1. As always this interests me a lot. I defenitely need to read those books. A online library, interesting. Never seen it before. However I will ask the books as birthday present I think. The painting is inaccurate. The explanation reads "A hunting accident resulted in the amputation of her left leg and precluded her from overseas assignments". The woman in the painting still appears to have her left leg? However it is a nice painting and I especially like some of the details like the cat that sleeps and doesn't care about the things that happen. You can read the pressure/stress from the guys face by the way, nicely done. As a matter of fact, look at the guys left leg....I would say that it is amputated and it is artificial, it is shorter as his right leg. Could it be the painter has misunderstood the story? You did read the book....let me know? 73, Bas

    1. Hello Bas, you're right about the man's leg...I never noticed. But the woman did lose a part of her leg due to a hunting accident. It was her foot that actually got shot so most of her leg was probably saved and a prosthetic only for the lower portion? The book didn't go into that much detail on that aspect. I do plan to read the other book mentioned by W0RW.

      73 and Merry Christmas,