After Decades of Marriage, Wife Discovers Her Husband’s Secret
Imagine being married for several decades, believing that you know the love of your life better than anyone else. Then imagine that the love of your life passes, and after losing them, you discover that you didn’t actually know them that well at all.
Audrey Phillips found herself living this exact scenario after the passing of her husband, Glyndwyr. They were married for over a decade, and it wasn’t until he was gone that she discovered his secret.
A Partial Truth
Audrey was very much in love with her husband and was happy with the simple life they had built together. She was a retired economics teacher, and while they weren’t wealthy by any means, she cherished the time they spent together and never regretted the decision to marry him.
Discovering his secret after his death was a devastating blow to the image of the man she thought she knew. She began to realize that he had kept more from her than she ever imagined.
Falling in Love with a Mystery
Audrey and Glyndwyr met at a bar and fell in love instantly. They knew from the moment they met that they wanted to spend their lives together. Glyndwyr admired Audrey and could see no other woman but her. Audrey found Glyndwyr mysterious, but rather than be put off, she was intrigued by him.
Audrey quickly became very comfortable with Glyndwyr and wanted to spend every waking moment with him for as long as she could. They enjoyed each other’s company immensely and soon spent little time apart.
Finding Happily Ever After
While dating, Glyndwyr and Audrey admitted to one another that they had never felt for anyone else what they felt for each other. They explored their city hand-in-hand and were together whenever it was possible. Audrey knew that Glyndwyr sometimes had to leave town on business, but she did not inquire further.
To everyone around them, they appeared to be the perfect couple. They married, and Audrey was thrilled to have her best friend by her side, someone she could trust above everyone else. A few months after they were married, their doctor delivered exciting news that changed their lives forever.
A Surprise Package
A few months after their marriage, Audrey noticed a sharp abdominal pain. Concerned it was something serious, she rushed to the local emergency room. Glyndwyr, having just returned from one of his many business trips, accompanied her.
The emergency room doctor informed them that Audrey was pregnant. They were incredibly relieved that the pains were not an indication of anything serious, and Audrey later gave birth to a beautiful baby boy who they named Jake. Their family was growing, and they couldn’t have been happier.
Love and Mystery
Audrey understood that Glyndwyr could not share with her the details of his business trips. He had informed her that his work was very private, and in order to continue doing it, he was not permitted to share
While she had to admit that she was curious, Audrey accepted this reality and was happy and confident in his love for her and their son. He was caring, attentive, kind, and gentle. When he wasn’t away, he made every effort to be present and focused on their life together.
Unusual and Upsetting News
One day, Glyndwyr went out for a walk, something he did often to clear his mind. Usually, he returned from these walks feeling refreshed with a clear mind and ready to be present with his family. However, this day, his time away from home had only served to leave him more upset and frustrated. He had some news to tell Audrey that would affect their family.
Glyndwyr informed Audrey that they had to move, and they had to do it within one week. He could not go into detail, and this upset Audrey.
Putting Up a Fight
Audrey was completely shocked and by no means wanted to leave her home where they had built such a wonderful life and happy memories. She especially did not appreciate being told she had to uproot it all so quickly.
Audrey loved her neighborhood and the people in it. They had strong relationships with the people around them, and she saw no reason that they should give all of this up. She was upset that she was given no choice in the matter and no concrete reasons.
More Unexpected Twists
Audrey stood in the doorway of the home she loved and argued with Glyndwyr about the decision to move. She did not want to back down. The thought of giving up the life she loved so much so suddenly was heartbreaking.
While arguing, Audrey suddenly felt a sharp pain in her abdomen, not unlike one she had felt before. They had to put their discussion on hold to visit the doctor. While they hoped for the best, the pains she had worried them.
Faced With a Decision
The couple soon discovered that they were expecting their second child. This time they were told that the pregnancy was high risk and that going through with it would take an incredible toll on Audrey’s body. She would be unable to have more children after this.
They now had to decide whether they felt the risk to Audrey’s physical health was worth continuing the pregnancy with the understanding that this was likely their last chance to have a second child.
Change of Plans
Audrey and Glyndwyr chose to continue the pregnancy, excited at the news of a second child. However, this meant that they could not move. Audrey could not travel during a high-risk pregnancy and put her health in even more danger.
It was clear to her that this news unsettled Glyndwyr because he felt the move was incredibly important. However, he vowed to remain by her side and do everything to ensure she and both of their children remained healthy and safe.
A Growing Family
Glyndwyr dedicated even more of his time to his family. He cared for their son and for Audrey while she was placed on bed rest. He took care of the home as well and spent as much time as possible making sure that they were ready for the new baby.
Glyndwyr had also reduced his travel time. His secret business trips became much less frequent as he devoted his time and energy to his growing family. His primary focus was on their life together.
A Shift in Priorities
One day, Glyndwyr approached Audrey and told her that he had changed his mind about moving their family. He no longer believed that it was the best decision for them at that time. He believed that they needed to stay close to their support system and prioritize raising their children.
While Audrey was relieved that the subject was no longer an issue, she couldn’t help but wonder about his sudden change and what had prompted the desire to move in the first place.
A Beautiful Life
Audrey and Glyndwyr lived their life together for nearly fifty years. They raised their children and were just as happy with one another’s company throughout the years as they were when they first met. They enjoyed their time together and loved one another fiercely. They even became grandparents.
Unfortunately, as they aged, Glyndwyr’s health began to decline. His hands would often shake, and he found himself struggling to walk and needing help. He was unable to do all the things he had once enjoyed.
Coping with Devastating News
Glyndwyr’s health continued to get worse. He ultimately decided to visit a doctor to find out the issue. His doctor soon diagnosed him with Parkinson’s Disease. He was told that his prognosis was not good.
The news devastated both of them and upset their families. Audrey wondered what she would do without him and was heartbroken to know that she would soon lose him. She resolved to enjoy every moment and make the most of their time together.
Losing Her Love
Glyndwyr’s health never recovered. He continued to decline rapidly as they tried to cherish every moment they had left together. He sometimes considered sharing his lifelong secret with Audrey but was concerned about devastating her further.
It eventually became too late. Glyndwyr passed away before he could share with her the truth about how he had spent his life when he was away from her and their children. She remained in the dark as she grieved for her lost love.
A Community Loss
Glyndwyr was very much loved in his community. There were many who knew him who were stricken by losing someone so dedicated and loving. He was well known to be hardworking and dedicated to his family.
His community believed that he worked as a civil engineer. They admired his work ethic and his willingness to do anything to care for those he loved. They knew him as someone who could be counted on no matter what. But they didn’t know everything.
The Journey Through Grief
Audrey avoided going through Glyndwyr’s belongings for as long as she reasonably could. She was so heartbroken at losing him that the thought of taking such a final step meant accepting the loss completely. Leaving things as they were helped her feel as if a part of him was still present.
However, Audrey knew that she couldn’t avoid the task forever and that she would eventually have to go through them and decide what to do with everything he had left behind.
Tears and Acceptance
After three long years of avoiding the task, Audrey finally summoned the courage to sift through Glyndwyr’s possessions. She had left everything untouched for so long, unable to accept that this would mean he was really gone forever.
Going through his things caused a lot of memories to resurface – memories of their life together and the time they had treasured as husband and wife. It was a slow, painful process. At last, she was down to one drawer left to be cleaned.
A Love for Writing
Glyndwyr sometimes retreated to his study where he loved to write. The final drawer to be cleaned was in his office where Audrey suspected he kept his creative writing work. She knew that he had written several poems and novels in his spare time.
A part of her was excited to read the work that he hadn’t yet shared with anyone. She felt it would give her an opportunity to continue to know him even better. She had never gone through his things before, and it felt as if she was invading his privacy.
The Unfamiliar Name
When Audrey opened the drawer, instead of finding Glyndwyr’s prose and poems, she found strange, unfamiliar documents. They appeared to be quite old, and she could not recall her husband ever mentioning what they might be.
The document referred to a man by a name that she did not know. She had never heard of this person before and wondered why her husband would have been in possession of someone else’s paperwork. Who did these documents belong to?
A Gifted Memory
As she read through the documents, Audrey found one that showed test results for the name in question. This person, a young boy, had shown that he had an incredible memory, especially a strong propensity for remembering the details in pictures and maps.
The report said that this person had a photographic memory that enabled him to recall many things in extreme detail. It was a rare gift. Audrey still wondered why her husband had been in possession of these documents.
The Boy in the Letter
Audrey continued to read through the stack of strange documents. She was learning more and more about the life of this mystery boy. She came across a letter that talked about the same boy who had taken the test.
This letter discussed a decision to remove said boy from school. They again referred to his photographic memory, determining that formal education would not benefit him. The letter was dated and indicated that the boy was around thirteen years of age at the time.
She Begins to Do the Math
Audrey realized that her husband would have been the same age as the boy referred to in the documents. She wondered if this boy had been a friend to Glyndwyr but still could not come up with a reasonable explanation for why he would have a friend’s school documents.
She continued to dig deeper, reading through the documents, hoping to find the answers to her growing list of questions. She found the entire situation to be very bizarre and unexpected.
Audrey continued to search for any information that might indicate to her how her husband was connected to this mystery boy. She filed through information about his education, his intelligence, and decisions regarding the two.
She read each individual paper carefully, from top to bottom. She wanted to make sure she wouldn’t miss anything important. It wasn’t until she came closer to the bottom of the pile that she found something even odder than anything she had read so far.
More Secrets Uncovered
Audrey began reading a document that referred to a secret operation known as “XX” as well as a counter-espionage project. She read the document repeatedly, certain that she was misunderstanding and struggling to figure out what this actually had to do with Glyndwyr.
The coded language in the document did not provide clear details, and her curiosity and confusion continued to grow. Within the pile of documents, Audrey found a note with only a telephone number. Should she call?
No Turning Back
Audrey was worried that whatever she might find at the other end of that telephone number could completely unravel her happy memories of the man she loved. She was sure that the answers to her questions about these documents could be found by calling.
However, she couldn’t allow herself to sit around and wonder. She would always have questions. She had already dived in, and her curiosity was piqued. She couldn’t talk herself out of halting the journey now when answers were potentially right around the corner.
Wrestling With a Choice
Before making a final decision to pursue the matter further, Audrey took several days to consider what it might mean. She was incredibly curious about what appeared to be very important documents about someone with a name she had never heard.
She wondered if her husband would be upset that she had found this information and wanted to pursue it. More importantly, she worried that if what she found was negative, it might tarnish his beautiful memory and beloved reputation within the community.
Audrey finally worked up the courage to sit down and make the call. She stared at the telephone number for several minutes, terrified about what this decision might lead to. She could barely sleep as she just wanted answers.
At long last, she dialed the number. It rang through with no answer. She took a deep breath and dialed again. Again, there was no answer. She began to think that this might be the end of her search after all.
The Call That Changed Her Life
Later that night, after she had given up, the phone rang. Audrey answered to a man on the other line. He asked if he was speaking with Audrey Phillips. He noticed that she had called and was getting back to her as quickly as he could.
Audrey told the man that she had found his phone number in some of Glyndwyr’s old documents. She didn’t understand what they meant and was hoping this man could help her. The man offered to meet her the following day, promising to have the answers she needed.
The Work Colleague
Audrey provided the man with her address. He arrived the next day, right on time. She led him inside and asked him to have a seat. She was on edge with anticipation, not knowing whether she should be excited or terrified about the information he was about to share.
The man told Audrey that he had worked with Glyndwyr for more than thirty years and that he had a very big secret that he had kept from his family. He was not the person that she thought he was their entire life.
The Gifted Child
The man told Audrey that Glyndwyr had incredible intelligence that was unmatched by his peers. His parents and school noticed these talents when he was very young, and as he grew older, his talents only grew increasingly stronger.
By the time Glyndwyr was a teenager, he had been pulled out of formal education. He was eventually recruited and trained in the army. However, his talents and intellect meant that he was destined to be far more than just a soldier.
A Different Kind of Training
Instead of shipping off to basic training, Glyndwyr and his colleague were chosen to participate in a special military program. They were only permitted to tell their fathers. No one else, not even their wives, children, or mothers were allowed to know about their work. They had to keep it secret for a lifetime.
While in the program, they were taught how to speak German, underwent several other training programs, and were given a long list of memory tests.
Stepping Into the Unknown
Glyndwyr and his colleague were both young at the time and didn’t fully understand what they had signed up for. They knew that regular academics were boring to them, and they were excited to embark on what they saw as an adventure.
They didn’t know what tasks lay ahead of them or even what types of lives they would lead due to having to keep this secret. When they had nearly reached the end of their training, the Second World War began.
The Adventure Begins
Glyndwyr and his colleague were tasked with crawling through very long concrete prison pipes to gain access to the German prisoners of war. It was their job to get the men to trust them and provide them with information.
The pipes were filthy, and the work was long and grueling. They knew if they were ever caught, that they would be in incredible danger. They were secret spies for the army and understood the seriousness of their work.
The Next Stage
This was their job until the war finally came to an end. When it was over, both men remained in contact with their commanding officer. He had no desire to let their special talents go to waste and had new work ready for them if they would accept.
The work they were given required even more training and even more secrecy. No matter what happened in their personal lives, they were not permitted to reveal the nature of their work to anyone.
A Secret Identity
Part of their training involved learning how to lead a double life. They were told to find partners, establish families, and lead normal lives to maintain appearances to the outside world. They were permitted to create lives they loved while still being available to the military.
The men were often called for secret intelligence missions that required them to be away from home for long periods of time. While on the outside, it might have seemed glamorous, it was not.
The Beginning Mission
Glyndwyr and his colleague were sent on their first mission to capture enemy spies. They received payment if they completed the mission. This mission involved infiltrating an army camp and surveilling the intended targets.
They were responsible for ensuring that they had the right people and reporting back to headquarters so the men could be captured. Believe it or not, this was one of their less dangerous missions.
Fear and Danger
The man told Audrey about one particular mission where Glyndwyr was responsible for rescuing one of his fellow spies from a boat. From there, they were responsible for picking up and transporting a load of arms in two separate gunboats.
He used his searchlight to ensure that he, his fellow spy, and their two gunboats were not captured by the enemy. They were continually on the lookout. It was not a mission that went smoothly, although it did result in a happy ending.
The Post-Wedding Trip
The man told Audrey with a humorous chuckle that this mission had taken place just a few weeks after she and Glyndwyr had been married. He had told Audrey that he was going away for a weekend of football.
When he came home covered in bruises and feeling rundown, Audrey was led to believe it was from having fun with friends. His lie gave her no reason to think he had been on a secret military mission.
The Answers Produced Questions
Audrey was shocked that she had never suspected something like this. She knew Glyndwyr went on private business trips, but it had never occurred to her that he could have been a secret military spy.
She had even more questions for Glyndwyr’s colleague than she had had before he began speaking. She wondered if he was willing to continue speaking with her and sharing the details of their work together.
A Note from Her Love
Before she could begin asking her myriad of questions, her husband’s colleague handed her a note. Glyndwyr had written it before he passed and given it to him for safekeeping. It was as if she had part of him with her again, for just a few moments.
Rather than feeling the dread and panic that she had been feeling for several days, she suddenly felt calm and at peace. He had considered her enough to leave a message behind for her to make sense of his life after he was gone.
Her Husband’s Words
In his letter, Glyndwyr told Audrey that he knew that if she was reading his words, then she now knew the secret he had kept from her their entire marriage. He hoped that she would understand why he couldn’t tell her and that he wanted her to always stay safe.
He also let Audrey know that there would be a surprise waiting for her when she was ready to see it. He had prepared something that she would not see until after he was gone.
A Final Gift
Enclosed in the letter was a check in the full amount of the money that he had earned for being a military spy. He had saved it with the intention of giving it to her after he had passed. They had lived a very simple life together because he had not used any of this money.
His letter said that he hoped that this money could serve as an apology for keeping such a big secret from her for all those years. While the secret had come as a huge shock to Audrey, she felt a great amount of pride and affection for the man she had chosen to marry.
The Veteran Relief Fund
Rather than use the money for herself, Audrey decided that she wanted to donate the money to the veteran relief fund. She believed that other veterans should benefit from the brave work that her husband had done. She wanted other men in her husband’s position to know that their families would be cared for.
Audrey was incredibly proud of Glyndwyr and held no resentment toward his secret. She wanted the world to know what a brave man she had married. She told the story of his life to her grandchildren, emphasizing his courage and dedication. Their family continues to keep his memory alive.
Another Incredible Story From the War: “A Woman Of No Importance”
One of America’s most important spies is likely one that you’ve never heard of. Her amazing story is displayed at the CIA Museum which is located inside the spy agency headquarters in Virginia.
You wouldn’t be able to see it though, it is off-limits to the public. Virginia went on to become one of World War Two’s most important and successful spies. For a long time, her story was hidden.
Who Was Virginia Hall
40 years after her death, Virginia is being recognized for her importance in the Second War. A British author named Sonia Purnell wrote a book about her called, you guessed it, A Woman of No Importance.
Purnell chose that title because for much of Virginia’s life, she was treated as someone who was not important, was belittled, and dismissed.
A Wealthy Upbringing
Virginia was born into a wealthy family and was raised with the expectation that she would marry into the privileged circle that she was bred into. However, Virginia saw a different life for herself.
She wanted adventure. She liked to hunt, she was different from those around her. She went to school once wearing a bracelet of live snakes.
Off To College
Virginia studied in France and had dreams of being a diplomat, an ambassador. However, she received a lot of pushback. She applied several times and was pushed back from the State Department.
At the time, there were only six women out of the 1,500 U.S. diplomats at the time. She was persistent, though. She eventually did land a clerical job at a U.S. consulate in Turkey.
A Hunting Accident
An unfortunate accident occurred while Virginia was hunting birds in Turkey. She accidentally shot herself in the foot. Due to this, gangrene set in and she had to have her left leg amputated below the knee.
Her recovery was difficult and painful. She was fixed with a clunky wooden leg. However, she could have lost her life and instead lost a leg. She saw this as another shot at life.
World War Two Erupts
World War Two erupted and Germany invaded France, a place where Hall felt a deep connection to due to her school years. She volunteered to be an ambulance driver for the French.
France was soon overtaken and she was forced to flee to Britain. It was there she had a chance meeting.
A Chance Meeting With British Intelligence
When Virginia met a spy with British intelligence, a path opened up that would change her life forever. It is fun to imagine what kind of conversation led to what was conspired.
So, the one-legged American woman took on limited training for her mission. She was among the first British spies that were sent to Germany-occupied France in 1941.
Virginia, The Spy
Virginia posed as a reporter working for the New York Post. Finally, Virginia had found the adventure she so craved.
She played into the male chauvinism of the Gestapo, who at the time, did not believe that women could be spies. Virginia was almost invisible and had a natural inclination towards the task at hand.
Using Her Resources
Virginia operated in eastern France in a town called Lyon, and initially stayed at a convent. There, she convinced nuns to help her.
She also befriended a woman brothel owner and was able to collect the information that French prostitutes gathered from the German troops.
Virginia began to organize a group of French resistance fighters. In return, she provided them with safe houses and important intelligence.
This set off alarm bells for the Germans, who began to realize that they were in pursuit of a one-legged woman running a resistance against them.
A Woman of Many Looks
Virginia changed outfits and looks constantly. She was able to do this multiple times a day even, sometimes, as many as four times in the space of one afternoon, all with four different code names.
Even still, the Gestapo was on to her and she became the target of one of the most infamous members of the Gestapo, and he was hot on the pursuit.
Klaus Barbie, “The Butcher of Lyon”
Klaus Barbie was known as the Butcher of Lyon. He had tortured and killed thousands in France through his forces. Klaus ordered “wanted” posters for Virginia.
The posters read “The Enemy’s Most Dangerous Spy–We Must Find And Destroy Her!” They were closing in on her.
A Narrow Escape
In 1942, as the Nazis closed in around Virginia, she narrowly escaped them and headed towards Spain. The journey was a difficult one. At one point, she had to walk for three days for 50 miles.
She made this trek in the dead of winter in heavy snow over the dangerous and difficult Pyrenees Mountains. When Virginia made it to Spain she was arrested, as she did not have an entrance stamp. After six weeks she was released back to Britain.
Back To France
The Americans needed Virginia to return, but because she was so well known it would be difficult. Committed to her cause, she asked a makeup artist how to draw wrinkles on her face.
She even had a London dentist grind down upon her beautiful white teeth so that she looked more like a French milkmaid.
A Tour More Successful Than Before
At its peak, Virginia’s network consisted of around 1,500 people, including a man who would later become her husband, Paul Goillot.
She was responsible for the airdrops by the resistance fighters who were blowing up bridges and sabotaging trains. They were able to reclaim villages before the Allied troops even advanced deep into France.
A Return Home
The British and French recognized Virginia’s contributions in private. However, American president Harry Truman publicly honored Virginia White House ceremony.
Virginia declined this, as she wanted to stay undercover. William Donovan, the OSS chief, awarded her with the Distinguished Service Cross, making her the only woman civilian to receive one in World War Two.