Odette Brailly was born in Amiens, France, on 28th April 1912. Her father was a soldier in the French Army and was killed during the First World War. Educated at the Convent of Therese in Amiens she married Roy Sansom, a hotel worker, in 1931. The couple moved to London where she gave birth to three children.
Distressed by the occupation of France by the German Army in 1940 she made contact with the Free French forces based in London. As a result she was recruited by the Special Operations Executive (SOE).
In October, 1941, she was sent by boat to France with orders to help establish a new circuit in Burgundy. Over the next few months she worked under Peter Churchill, the SOE's organizer in that part of the country.
On 16th April, 1943, Sansom and Churchill 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.
Sansom was sent to Fresnes Prison in Paris and while being tortured by the Gestapo she had all her toenails pulled out. On 13th May 1944 the Germans transported Sansom and seven other SOE agents, Yolande Beekman, Eliane Plewman, Madeleine Damerment, Vera Leigh, Diana Rowden, Andrée Borrel and Sonya Olschanezky, to Nazi Germany. The following month she was sent to Ravensbruck Concentration Camp.
Sansom continued to claim that she was related to Winston Churchill and in 1945, with the Red Army advancing on Ravensbruck from the east, she persuaded Fritz Suhren, the camp commandant, to drive her to the Allied lines in the west.
In 1946 Sansom was awarded the George Cross for bravery and the following year she married Peter Churchill. Other The marriage ended in divorce in 1956 and she married Geoffrey Hallowes, a wine importer. Odette Hallowes died at Walton-on-Thames on 13th March, 1995.