I Was a Spy!: The Classic Account of Behind-the-Lines Espionage in the First World War

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9781910860038: I Was a Spy!: The Classic Account of Behind-the-Lines Espionage in the First World War
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“The Greatest War Story of All – Takes rank with All Quiet on the Western Front. She fulfilled in every respect the conditions which made the terrible profession of a spy dignified and honourable. Dwelling behind the German line within sound of cannon, she continually obtained and sent information of the highest importance to the British Intelligence Authorities. Her tale is a thrilling one ... the main description of her life and intrigues and adventures is undoubtedly authentic. I was unable to stop reading it until 4 a.m.”

Winston Churchill 1932
With her medical studies cut short by the 1914 German invasion, her house burned down and her father arrested for suspected‘sharpshooting’, it was perhaps unsurprising that the multi-lingual Marthe Mckenna (née Cnockaert, codename ‘Laura’) was recruited by British Intelligence. At the time she worked as a nurse tending the wounds of occupying soldiers, and as a waitress in her parents’ café in the Belgian border town of Roulers.
I Was a Spy! is McKenna’s vivid narrative of these breath-taking adventures as she, aided by a gallant band of loyal locals, goes undercover to sabotage enemy phone lines, report suspicious activity or train movements, and even instigate an aerial attack on a planned visit by the Kaiser.

This thrilling account goes on to explain how, in 1916, the young nurse was caught by the Germans placing dynamite in a disused sewer tunnel underneath an ammunition dump. She was sentenced to the firing squad and only survived due to the Iron Cross honour received as a result of her earlier medical service . Mckenna was later mentioned by Douglas Haig in British Despatches and was awarded the French and Belgian Orders of the Legion of Honour for her espionage work.

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About the Author:

In addition to receiving the Iron Cross from the Germans for her wartime contribution as a nurse, Marthe Mckenna (née Cnockaert, codename ‘Laura’) was later mentioned by Douglas Haig in British Despatches and was awarded the French and Belgian Orders of the Legion of Honour for her espionage work. I Was A Spy! was first published in 1932 with an extended Foreword by Winston Churchill and was made into a film in 1933 directed by Victor Saville and starring Madeleine Carroll. The success of the book encouraged Marthe to write further memoirs of her wartime exploits, and those of her small band of fellow spies, and also led to a series of espionage novels written in collaboration with her British husband John “Jock” McKenna.

Review:

"Straight out of Boys' Own Paper! I was reading stories like this in my comics in the 1950s, never quite able to believe that such things actually happened, and that such people actually really existed!’ -" (Books Monthly)

"McKenna's style is a breathless mix of Celia Johnson crossed with Enid Blyton... she drives her narrative at a brisk clip and becomes an entertaining and rather endearing companion." (The Independent)

"This re-issue of a gripping tale of the wartime adventures of a legendary heroine, perhaps ranking alongside the legendary Violette Szabo, is one to be welcomed. Churchill was not the only one who could not stop reading this until 4am!" (Britain At War)

"Written at an electric pace ... McKenna’s is an unremitting adventure     " (History of War)

"Her tale is a thrilling one. The main description of her life and intrigues and adventures is undoubtedly authentic. I was unable to stop reading it until 4 a.m.” The pages of this book are dramatically riddled with suspicion, fear and excruciating, life-and-death tension....fast-paced bit of remarkable reading." (Toy Solder & Model Figure)

“Well-written, the reader comes to appreciate the stresses that accumulated back when communications were much slower than today.” (World War One Illustrated, Summer 2018)

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Marthe McKenna
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Book Description Pool of London, 2015. 1-82. Condition: New. While working as a nurse in 1915, tending to wounded German soldiers near her Belgian home of Roulers, Marthe McKenna was recruited by the British as a spy. Using her multilingual skills and proximity to the enemy, she worked with locals in sabotage operations and aided escaping prisoners until she was captured herself. This classic memoir was first published in 1932 and is reproduced here with the original foreword by Winston Churchill. Seller Inventory # 505777

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Book Description The Pool of London Press, United Kingdom, 2015. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. "The Greatest War Story of All - Takes rank with All Quiet on the Western Front. She fulfilled in every respect the conditions which made the terrible profession of a spy dignified and honourable. Dwelling behind the German line within sound of cannon, she continually obtained and sent information of the highest importance to the British Intelligence Authorities. Her tale is a thrilling one . the main description of her life and intrigues and adventures is undoubtedly authentic. I was unable to stop reading it until 4 a.m." Winston Churchill 1932 With her medical studies cut short by the 1914 German invasion, her house burned down and her father arrested for suspected'sharpshooting', it was perhaps unsurprising that the multi-lingual Marthe Mckenna (née Cnockaert, codename 'Laura') was recruited by British Intelligence. At the time she worked as a nurse tending the wounds of occupying soldiers, and as a waitress in her parents' café in the Belgian border town of Roulers. I Was a Spy! is McKenna's vivid narrative of these breath-taking adventures as she, aided by a gallant band of loyal locals, goes undercover to sabotage enemy phone lines, report suspicious activity or train movements, and even instigate an aerial attack on a planned visit by the Kaiser. This thrilling account goes on to explain how, in 1916, the young nurse was caught by the Germans placing dynamite in a disused sewer tunnel underneath an ammunition dump. She was sentenced to the firing squad and only survived due to the Iron Cross honour received as a result of her earlier medical service . Mckenna was later mentioned by Douglas Haig in British Despatches and was awarded the French and Belgian Orders of the Legion of Honour for her espionage work. Seller Inventory # AAJ9781910860038

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Book Description The Pool of London Press, United Kingdom, 2015. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. "The Greatest War Story of All - Takes rank with All Quiet on the Western Front. She fulfilled in every respect the conditions which made the terrible profession of a spy dignified and honourable. Dwelling behind the German line within sound of cannon, she continually obtained and sent information of the highest importance to the British Intelligence Authorities. Her tale is a thrilling one . the main description of her life and intrigues and adventures is undoubtedly authentic. I was unable to stop reading it until 4 a.m." Winston Churchill 1932 With her medical studies cut short by the 1914 German invasion, her house burned down and her father arrested for suspected'sharpshooting', it was perhaps unsurprising that the multi-lingual Marthe Mckenna (née Cnockaert, codename 'Laura') was recruited by British Intelligence. At the time she worked as a nurse tending the wounds of occupying soldiers, and as a waitress in her parents' café in the Belgian border town of Roulers. I Was a Spy! is McKenna's vivid narrative of these breath-taking adventures as she, aided by a gallant band of loyal locals, goes undercover to sabotage enemy phone lines, report suspicious activity or train movements, and even instigate an aerial attack on a planned visit by the Kaiser. This thrilling account goes on to explain how, in 1916, the young nurse was caught by the Germans placing dynamite in a disused sewer tunnel underneath an ammunition dump. She was sentenced to the firing squad and only survived due to the Iron Cross honour received as a result of her earlier medical service . Mckenna was later mentioned by Douglas Haig in British Despatches and was awarded the French and Belgian Orders of the Legion of Honour for her espionage work. Seller Inventory # AAJ9781910860038

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Book Description The Pool of London Press, United Kingdom, 2015. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. "The Greatest War Story of All - Takes rank with All Quiet on the Western Front. She fulfilled in every respect the conditions which made the terrible profession of a spy dignified and honourable. Dwelling behind the German line within sound of cannon, she continually obtained and sent information of the highest importance to the British Intelligence Authorities. Her tale is a thrilling one . the main description of her life and intrigues and adventures is undoubtedly authentic. I was unable to stop reading it until 4 a.m." Winston Churchill 1932 With her medical studies cut short by the 1914 German invasion, her house burned down and her father arrested for suspected'sharpshooting', it was perhaps unsurprising that the multi-lingual Marthe Mckenna (née Cnockaert, codename 'Laura') was recruited by British Intelligence. At the time she worked as a nurse tending the wounds of occupying soldiers, and as a waitress in her parents' café in the Belgian border town of Roulers. I Was a Spy! is McKenna's vivid narrative of these breath-taking adventures as she, aided by a gallant band of loyal locals, goes undercover to sabotage enemy phone lines, report suspicious activity or train movements, and even instigate an aerial attack on a planned visit by the Kaiser. This thrilling account goes on to explain how, in 1916, the young nurse was caught by the Germans placing dynamite in a disused sewer tunnel underneath an ammunition dump. She was sentenced to the firing squad and only survived due to the Iron Cross honour received as a result of her earlier medical service . Mckenna was later mentioned by Douglas Haig in British Despatches and was awarded the French and Belgian Orders of the Legion of Honour for her espionage work. Seller Inventory # BTE9781910860038

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Book Description Pool of London Press, 2015. Condition: New. Num Pages: 288 pages, 15 photographs. BIC Classification: 3JJF; BGH; HBWN; JPSH; JWDG. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 139 x 205 x 25. Weight in Grams: 444. . 2015. Hardcover. . . . . . Seller Inventory # V9781910860038

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