Sometimes we get an e-mail from a customer that just makes our day. Yesterday was one of those times, and (with permission) we would like to share it with you.
A few months ago you sent me the book A Life in Secrets - the story of Vera Atkins and the lost agents of SOE by Sarah Helm. It is an extraordinary tale of a brilliant, difficult and troubled woman's life and the researching of it must have involved heroic efforts. I thought you might like to know how I came to request it.
Attached is the photo of the tombstone of Vera Atkins sister-in-law Phoebe who was married to Vera's brother Guy. It is in the churchyard of St Senara's church in Zennor on the far west coast of Cornwall. I was there with a friend who was researching his family roots and I saw Phoebe's stone which made me smile and think she could have been a good woman to have known. I then found a memorial plaque set into one of the granite retaining walls to Guy and Vera Atkins mentioning that she had won the Croix de Guerre. I had recently read a superb history of life on a Zennor farm before and between the wars called Tremedda Days so I was interested in who had been living there and how they fitted in with the characters I had been reading about. Maybe this is why I Googled Phoebe Atkins when I got home. I found the instructions for her wake which was to be a big knees-up in Zennor village hall but not much more about her. However references brought me to Guy and Vera and hence to knowledge of this book.
I couldn't have guessed what an incredible tale it would turn out to be and now I shall go back and salute all three of them. I'm sure that knowing Zennor and it's surroundings must have brought them much delight and respite after such turbulent lives. Thanks so much for your part in helping me travel down this path.
A Life in Secrets is one of those books that we like to keep in stock, and pick up copies when see them. If anyone is after a copy, or anything else on SOE, they can be found in our Intelligence section.