Heroic spy was inspiration for Bond girl Vesper Lynd
Vesper: modelled on Second World War Jewish agent Krystyna Skarbek
The daring exploits of a Jewish-born secret agent who was parachuted into France during the Second World War have been celebrated at a ceremony in London.
Krystyna Skarbek, whose mother was from an assimilated Jewish family, left her home in Poland after the Nazi invasion and made her way to Britain. She volunteered to work as an agent from British intelligence, returning to Poland on numerous missions to recruit couriers.
Towards the end of the war she was dispatched to France to gather intelligence and boost the Allied war effort, for which she was decorated with the George Medal for bravery.
Known in Britain by the name Christine Granville, she mixed in glamorous circles and allegedly had an affair with James Bond author Ian Fleming, reportedly even inspiring the character Vesper Lyn in Casino Royale.
But in 1952 she was stabbed to death by a man who had become obsessed with her, and was buried in relative anonymity in Kensal Green, west London.
On Friday, 61 years after her death, her courage was saluted at an event organised by the Polish Heritage Society, which is planning to renovate her grave and restore her name to prominence.