Code Name: "Simone"
Courier for Inventor/Prosper
Born in Leeds as Vera Glass, the abandoned infant Vera found herself adopted by American racehorse aficionado H. Eugene Leigh and his British wife. Dismissing her early desire to pursue a career as a jockey, Vera ultimately trained in fashion, partnering with two friends at Rose Valois, the Parisian millinery established in 1927 (Kramer 60). Her early work on the fine details of haute couture fashion prepared her to impress her instructors during SOE training. An instructor recalled that although she struggled with maps and diagrams, she was “extremely good with her fingers; she could do fiddling jobs with charges and wires and all that remarkably quickly and neatly” (Kramer 61). He went on to note, “She was very interested in clothes, and hated her hideous khaki uniform” (Kramer 61). In the early hours of 14 May 1943, Vera was parachuted into the Cher valley. Her mission was to serve as courier for the team establishing the INVENTOR circuit, a sub-circuit to PROSPER. Under the code name of “Simone,” she quickly reacquainted herself with Parisian life. Easily recognizable by her prior acquaintances, she exhibited a large degree of naïveté by visiting her former hairdresser and frequently meeting fellow agents at a café. Upon her arrest, German agents were well acquainted with her day-to-day activities.Upon her arrival at Natzweiler, Brian Stonehouse recalled her as “petite,” and “older, having shortish brown hair" (Kramer 59) In her final hours, locked in a solitary cell but able to communicate with other prisoners, she “asked if someone could get her a pillow" (Kramer 110). Vera Leigh was killed along with Andrée Borrell, Diana Rowden, and Sonia Olschanezky at the Natzweiler-Struthof concentration camp.