Remembering WW2 Special Operations Agent, Phyllis 'Pippa' Latour Doyle
The RAF Benevolent Fund would like to pay tribute to the service and life of WW2 Special Operations Agent and Fund beneficiary, Phyllis 'Pippa' Latour Doyle.
Pippa, who was the last of the 39 female secret agents who served in Sir Winston Churchill's ‘secret army’ passed away aged 102 in her hometown in New Zealand.
Pippa's story is an extraordinary one. Her wartime exploits began in September 1943. She was a member of the Women's Auxiliary Air Force when she was seconded to the Special Operations Executive. She then received training in SOE special training school which included parachuting, weapons, explosives, unarmed combat and wireless and telegraphy training.
In 1944 she parachuted into the occupied Nazi-controlled Normandy area to act as a wireless telegraphy operator for an SOE/Marquis circuit using the code name Genevieve. On D-Day she watched as Allied troops stormed Normandy.
Pippa, posing as a school girl was a radio operator whose job it was to supply intelligence that would lead to the bombers being brought in. Her work made a significant impact on the Allied victory, and she was awarded the Croix de Geurre for bravery, and made a Member of the British Empire.
The WAAF veteran was recognised again by the French Government in 2014 when she was presented the Medal of the knight of the French National Order of the Legion of honour for her actions and bravery during the war, and she went on to receive the French Resistance Medal of 1943, and the French Defence Force Brevet Militaire de Parachutiste operational French military parachute wings. In 2020 the Auckland City Council approved the naming of a street “Genevieve Lane in the old RNZAF Air Base at Hobsonville Point, in honour of her military service to the Commonwealth in the Second World War.
Pippa was supported by the Fund for the last decade, enabling her to remain in her own home and be as independent as possible during her final years.
The Fund is sad to learn of Pippa’s passing and send thoughts to her friends and family during this time.