Everyone knew her as Eileen Nearne, an 89-year-old who lived alone in her flat in Torquay, a quaint British seaside town.
Few knew of her secret life as "Agent Rose."
Nearne's dramatic past as a spy instrumental in defeating Nazi Germany was revealed when she died and was given a lavish, media-attended funeral this week. It was the kind of attention Nearne reportedly worked most of her life to avoid.
"Nearne was one of only a few dozen women spies in an organization set up by Winston Churchill, called the Special Operations Executive," according to NPR reporter Philip Reeves, who captured sound of the funeral.
Nearne's mission was to support the French resistance. A fluent French speaker, she was dropped into Nazi-occupied France to work as a radio operator. Nearne, reportedly 23 at the time, was captured and tortured by the Gestapo, then sent to a concentration camp, from which she made a daring escape, Reeves reported.
Police found among her possessions a Croix de Guerre medal awarded by the French government after World War II, The New York Times reported.