Amy Elisabeth Thorpe was known as the Mata Hari of WW11. Blonde and beautiful she proved hard to resist and had all the right credentials to boot. Her father was an officer in the U.S. marine corp and her mother the daughter of a senator. A part of the social set In Washington Amy was much sought after. With her father being quite high up in the military she made some very good connections indeed and soon came to the attention of British Intelligence through operatives working in the U.S. In 1930 Amy married the under secretary of the British Embassy. Though the marriage was pretty shaky they managed to have children and maintain the facade of a happy family. When her husband was transferred to Madrid Amy decided that she also wanted to do something important for the war effort and , being sympathetic to Franco, began helping Spanish nationals escape across the boarder while also helping transport Red Cross supplies to Franco’s troops. Following the evacuation of British Embassy staff from Northern Spain during a bombardment the family was transferred to Poland. Amy ,once again feeling alone and disillusioned, began an affair with a Polish diplomat who shared information on German interests in the Sudetenland which she dutifully passed on to British Intelligence. It was this liason that made the Brits sit up and take notice of her skills and recruit her as an agent. The decision to use her as an agent proved to be a good one and ‘Cynthia’ went on to find information on Germany’s enigma enciphering machine as well as proof of Hitler’s plans to dismantle Czechoslovakia.
Soon after her affair with the Polish Diplomat was exposed her marriage was over. New York beckoned and the still very young femme fatale moved there to work with British Security co-ordinations. From there she moved on to Washington D.C. as an undercover journalist and managed to obtain Italian naval ciphers through her new lover a naval attache from the Italian Embassy. Probably her most famous exploit was in obtaining documents from the bureau of the Vichy government whilst having an affair with a French press attache by the name of Charles Brousse. The affair was conducted in Brousse’s office while British embassy staff drugged the guard and photographed cables,letters and documents with detailed plans on troop movements. Meanwhile it was up to Cynthia to obtain the key to the the Vichy safe which contained the cyphers. The information found in the cyphers was of immense importance to the allies when they landed in North Africa in 1942. Her first husband died in the field. Retiring in 1944 she married Charles Brousse her collaborator on the vichy codes whilst still young enough to start again and enjoy the remainder of her life . When frowned upon as being overly promiscuous Cynthia famously replied ” Wars are not won by respectable methods.” Unlike Mata Hari , however, Cynthia died of natural causes in 1963.
© Renee Dallow ( Hybiscus Bloom ) 26/5/2014