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Record revealed

Christine Granville’s application to become a British citizen

Christine Granville, Special Operations Executive agent extraordinaire, was Churchill’s favourite spy. How did this document possibly save her life?

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A typewritten formal letter.


1. With reference to Christine GRANVILLE.

2. I attach naturalization form of application completed and signed. You will notice that

a) Christine has signed in her name of GRANVILLE. She was advised to do so by the English solicitor we consulted in CAIRO.

b) I have signed in lieu of Commissioner for Oaths. This is in order to avoid having to approach the British Consulate and because I am told by our English solicitors that any serving officer is automatically a Commissioner for Oaths.

3. If anything further is required I suggest that you should wait until I return to London when we can discuss this matter verbally.

Why this record matters

Date: 1945

Catalogue reference: HS 9/612

Christine Granville, one of Special Operations Executive’s most successful female agents, was all set for one last mission to Poland. She was an ideal choice: born Maria Krystyna Janina Skarbek near Warsaw in 1908, a Polish patriot who had lost Jewish relatives during the Holocaust, she had carried out a range of daring ventures throughout the Second World War.

Poland had been liberated and then occupied by the Soviet Armed Forces in 1944 and 1945. Christine was to be part of a team assessing the situation under Russian occupation and making contact with Polish politicians and the Polish Resistance, the Home Army. Her mission was cancelled at short notice because of political changes brought about as the Iron Curtain came down across Eastern Europe.

It became necessary for Christine to apply for Naturalisation as a British Citizen, as it would have been deadly dangerous for her as an ex-agent of the British Special Operations Executive to attempt to live in then Russian-dominated Poland. This note recommended her naturalisation, which would mean she would not face the dangers of repatriation.