While men have held a significant place in the annals of military history, there were also very important women who made serious impacts as well. Betty Pack, born Amy Elizabeth Thorpe made serious contributions to the Allied War effort during WW II. Amy Thorpe was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on November 22, 1910. Amy Thorpe and her family moved around a bit based on her father being in the Marine Corps. Showing great creativity and intelligence at a young age, Amy Thorpe showed her writing talents by creating a romantic novel at the age of 11 based on postcards and other material to create these settings in her book. Her book even caught the attention of an Italian Admiral.
Many years later, Amy Thorpe — aka — Betty Pack, would be considered a mid-twentieth century Mata Hari, without the violent end that greeted Mata Hari, however. Amy Thorpe’s fate in life was partly driven by the actions of her father, the Marine, who decided to resign from the Marine Corps and locate his family to the Washington, D.C. area to study law.
Amy Thorpe would end up in the arms of an Italian named Alberto Lais who worked in Washington, D.C. at the Italian Embassy. Admiral Lais had had a rather platonic relationship with Amy Thorpe and thought a lot of her when she was 18. However, it became a highly controversial subject about the relationship that Admiral Lais would go on to have with Amy Thorpe as well as the critical war plans of the Axis powers and other helpful intelligence that a young Amy was alleged to have gotten from Alberto Lais.
One thing for certain was that Amy Thorpe did receive the attention of many successful men who were in diplomatic positions as a young woman who knew how to woo politically connected men in the late 1920s and early 30s. Thorpe’s ability to be well-bred and act much older for her age while holding a beautiful look was quite appealing to British diplomats, Italian naval brass, American politics, and many other men. Much later in her career, Amy Thorpe would be a contributor to William ‘Wild Bill’ Donovan’s Office of Strategic Services during World War II and the British MI6.
Little did Amy Thorpe or the rest of the world know what an asset to the British and U.S. military causes she would be later in her life from being around men who were part of the diplomatic and intelligence communities.
Amy Thorpe’s Marriage To Arthur Pack
Amy Thorpe ended up catching the eye of a high ranking official who worked at the British Embassy in Washington, DC, Arthur Pack who was almost twice her age at the time. After an affair occurred for some time, Thorpe ended up marrying Arthur Pack. It was noted by HistoryNet.com that Amy Pack “gave birth to a son five months after the wedding.” However, Amy Pack decided not to raise the young child, so the Pack’s son was handed over to foster parents to raise. Amy Pack also bore a daughter, in 1934, but his relationship with Arthur was becoming even more strained.
On Mission In Spain
When it comes to her work as an intelligence agent during WW II, Amy “Betty” Pack was considered a key part of helping many countries key information they needed. Some of these nations included the U.S., United Kingdom, Poland, Italy, Chile, Czechoslovakia and also for the Nationalists in Spain.
When Arthur Pack got a transfer to Madrid, Spain on the cusp of the Spanish Civil War, his wife was involved in secret work in this Spanish nation. Amy “Betty” Pack worked to smuggle Spanish Nationalists to places that would be safe from trouble. And she would also work with Julio Franco’s forces to bring them much-needed supplies from the Red Cross.
Amy “Betty” Pack helped to coordinate an essential evacuation of British Embassy staff from Spain. She also made contributions in diplomatic affairs while in Spain. However, a woman scorned used her to stop supporting covert activities for the British after being accused by another woman of being a Republican spy amongst her Spanish Nationalist peers.
Because of Amy Pack’s powerful connects among the British intelligence because of her husband at the time, Amy Pack was able to work her magic for the Allied forces in Paris, beginning in 1937. Amy and her very young daughter, as well as her nanny, made their way to Paris to be a member of the Britannic Majesty’s Secret Intelligence Service according to Pack.
Because of Amy Pack’s husband having important connections within the Polish Embassy, she was accepted by those who worked in the Polish foreign ministry. However, during these years that Amy Pack was part of the political situation in France, Arthur Pack had a cerebral thrombosis, which caused him serious physical problems. This medical condition caused him to be placed in a nursing home.
Life In The French Castle
For someone who was the daughter of a distinguished Marine Corps Officer, Amy Thorpe “earned the keys to the French Castle” with the help of her second husband, Charles Brousse aka The Georgia Cracker. Charles Brousse had been hired by the British Security Coordination (BSC), which was led by Canadian William Stephenson to do some of their dirty work like breaking into safes to try and steal important codes to help crack the Enigma Code that the Nazis were using at the time while in a Vichy France during WW II. Although some historians have stated that Amy Pack (Code Name: Cynthia) was partially responsible for contributions leading to the eventual cracking of the Enigma Code, others say it was the Poles who were the ones who were fully responsible.
Charles “The Georgia Cracker” Brousse ended up divorcing his wife and marrying Amy Pack. Moreover, Amy’s longtime husband, Arthur Pack, would end up dying due to suicide as World War II was coming to a swift conclusion in 1945.
Amy Thorpe Brousse would end up working for the MI6 as well as the U.S. Office of Strategic Services (OSS), which was a predecessor to the CIA during World War II. Amy was someone who believed in using “unconventional methods” to ultimately save both American and British lives. Indeed, Amy Thorpe got involved in many harrowing situations that would have caused many “so-called” respectable women to be drawn back by — especially being a lover to many men who were well-connected during the war. However, Amy Thorpe noted about her actions leading up as well as during WW II that “mine was total commitment.” She also was quoted as saying that “[w]ars are not won by respectable methods.”
Amy Thorpe Brousse ended up succumbing to cancer and passed away on December 1, 1963. In conclusion, Amy Thorpe’s sometimes dirty work of engaging the power’s that be in a boudoir setting was well worth the risk of saving her countrymen and those in support of the American cause on many continents.