Noor Inayat Khan

Discussion in 'SOE & OSS' started by airborne medic, May 22, 2006.

  1. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Many Thanks Peter !
  2. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    For some reason I can't use the pictures you posted Peter.

    I've had to manualy select the programme to open the picture which says its a file not JPG etc. I edited them down but it shows the picture as a white blank in the pictures file. I did save it as a JPEG after trimming the picture.

    I suspect your uploading or saving your pictures on a unusual setting or programme.

    Anyone know what to do so I can post the pictures?

    If your unsure what I mean try posting the picture above on this thread afther saving it to your HD.

  3. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    LOL, Its working now....Scrub the emergency :smile:
  4. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    Why we need one more war memorial

    A Muslim woman killed in 1944 for being a British agent could subvert our view of religious identity

    Lauren Booth and Roshonara Choudhry are very dissimilar and it would be foolish to draw lessons from either about the general nature of Islam. The first tells how she's found personal peace in a new religious belief, the second of how listening to online lectures by the Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki persuaded her to try to murder Stephen Timms MP by plunging a knife in his stomach.
    Nevertheless, the former prime minister's half-sister-in-law let something slip in her Guardian piece this week that suggests she sees Islam as a political as well as a religious identity, and in this she may not be so far apart from the would-be assassin from east London.
    Booth wrote that when news clips showed a Muslim crowd shouting "Allahu Akbar!" at the sky, the west had been "trained" to hear hatred. "In fact," she said, "what we Muslims are saying is 'God is Great!', and we're taking comfort in our grief after non-Muslim nations have attacked our villages." Muslim, non-Muslim: as if all the world worked to this crude binary division.
    As if Muslim Iraq had never gone to war with Muslim Iran; as if Muslim Bangladesh hadn't grown out of a bloody struggle with Muslim Pakistan; as if the villages would accept death and destruction more easily at Muslim hands; as if becoming an English Muslim could make a Palestinian village "ours".
    Not even the most devout human can be summarised by religious belief alone. Family, aspiration, language, nationality, culture: there are a dozen ways to complicate and enlarge the narrow either/or versions of humanity that the agents of 9/11 and all that's happened since have done so much to popularise.
    But let's consider the story of a third woman who also happened to be a Muslim. If all goes well, a memorial will be raised to her in a Bloomsbury square next year. London University and the local authority have granted permission and agreed a site, a sculptor has been commissioned; the organisers now need to raise £60,000 for the bust and pedestal. It is a modest proposal, but certain facts make it noteworthy. The memorial to Noor Inayat Khan in Gordon Square will be the first in London to an Indian woman, and one of the few anywhere in the world to a Muslim one.
    The setting is appropriate. Noor lived in the square as a small child at the end of the first world war, in a large house financed by her father's followers. Her father was a sufi, a preacher of Islamic mysticism, at a time when Europe was experimenting with what it liked to think of as eastern religion, just as it had begun to develop a taste for eastern art, literature and music: all an exotic balm to Europe's troubled spirit.
    Music had taken him to the west. In New York he formed a group called the Royal Musicians of Hindustan with a brother and cousin who, like him, had started out as court players for the rulers of Baroda. He toured America, preaching, playing his veena and singing, and in San Francisco met the woman who became his wife. Ora Ray Baker was of English-Irish-Scottish descent. Their daughter Noor was born in Moscow, where the musicians had gone to play at Maxim's, in 1912.
    Everything about this man's life now seems extraordinary. On the one hand, he established outposts of sufism in the drawing rooms of Brighton and Harrogate, and on the other he performed ragas for many early 20th-century celebrities – Gandhi, Mata Hari, Claude Debussy – in the concert halls of London and Paris. But all this seems ordinary enough when set beside the last 15 months of his daughter's life, which ended in Dachau in September 1944.
    When Noor was four the family moved to Paris, where another disciple bought them a large villa. Here Noor grew up in an atmosphere that mixed religion with art and east with west. Her father, robed and bearded, would climb to the roof and meditate until he fell into a trance, while she wore a sari, wrote poetry and learned to play the harp. "Dreamy" is the word that attaches to her, though at music school she studied hard under Nadia Boulanger and enrolled for a course in child psychology at the Sorbonne.
    By her mid-20s she had become a successful writer for children in Parisian newspapers, a book was translated and published in London but then the war came. What was a good Indian sufi to do? War was a quandary for a pacific religion; a European war faced Indian nationalists, of which Noor was one, with the problem of which side, if any, to take. She and her brother decided that Nazi Germany was an evil that needed to be fought and the family returned to England. Noor joined the Women's Auxiliary Air Force, where her fluent French brought her to the attention of the new Special Operations Executive (SOE), which was desperate to find radio operators who could be dropped into enemy territory.
    Her instructors doubted she was up to the job (her assessment said she was "not overburdened with brains"), but in June 1943 she became the SOE's first woman agent to be landed in occupied France. It turned out to be a bitter farce. The Resistance group she was sent to help had been thoroughly infiltrated – even the man who met her from the plane worked for the Gestapo – and disintegrated within weeks after hundreds of operatives were arrested and shot.
    Noor refused the chance to return, and survived for several weeks as the SOE's only radio contact in or near Paris. Then she too was betrayed and seized.
    The Germans found her radio codes in the back of her diary – she either misunderstood or forgot her orders to destroy them – and imitating her own Morse style resumed transmissions to London. For four months SOE headquarters delivered plans and agents straight into enemy hands, believing that Noor was the operator at the other end when in fact she was shackled hand and foot in a solitary cell in a German prison.
    After a year she was sent to Dachau, shot in the back of the neck and burned in a crematorium oven. Posthumously, she won the Croix de Guerre and the George Cross; her bravery is attested on both German and Allied sides.
    Of the SOE's 55 female agents, 13 died in action or in Nazi camps. One of the dead (Violette Szabo) and one who survived (Odette Hallowes) had popular films devoted to their lives. Szabo has a monument on the Embankment. The plan for Noor Inayat Khan's comes from her biographer, the Indian journalist Shrabani Basu, who feels that her similar sacrifice is insufficiently recognised.
    In the season of the mandatory poppy, it can seem that London has as many war memorials as it needs. But here is one that could deepen our sense of national history and widen, perhaps even subvert, the dull zealous view of religious identity. I hope it gets built.
  5. Vitesse

    Vitesse Senior Member

    Noor did of course pay the ultimate price, but you have to question the wisdom of her controllers in sending her into action in the first place. As mentioned in the article her assessment suggested she wasn't overburdened with brains, but I don't think she was mentally strong enough to live the life of a pianist. As I understand it she had an almost complete mental breakdown after the smashing of 'Prosper' and although she wasn't swept up immediately she then lived in terror until she was actually caught.

    I know SOE were desperately short of radio operators at that time and the whole Paris region looked like it might have been blown, but I do feel they could and should have done more for the operatives they knew were safe.
  6. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    There was a number of errors by SOE if you revisit its operational returns.The selection of Noor has been questioned many times before.

    Without digressing,I would say that the selection of John McAlister and Frank Pickergill for SOE duties in the field was doomed from the start and I say this without any reference to their unquestionable bravery.They were sent into the field without adequate French and the first time they were questioned, the game was up.A tragic unneccessary loss of two young brave men which also led to the ultimate death of another SOE agent and a concentration camp for the only SOE survivor,all from a spot check in the Sologne.

    Off the cuff,I believe Noor was "sold" to the Germans.
  7. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    After 65 years in the shadows, the Indian heroine of Churchill's elite SOE spy network is to be recognised with a statue in London

    By Daily Mail Reporter
    Last updated at 2:25 PM on 4th January 2011
    For more than 60 years, the herosim of Noor Inayat Khan, one of Winston Churchill's elite Special Operations Executive secret agents, has remained largely forgotten.

    She was the first female radio operator sent into Nazi-occupied France, where her bravery has long been recognised, and for three months she single-handedly ran a cell of spies across Paris until she was betrayed and captured.

    For ten months she was tortured by the Gestapo desperate for any information about SOE operations, but she stood firm and was eventually executed at Dachau concentration camp on September 13, 1944, aged just 30.

    [​IMG] Noor Inayat Khan, the British agent whose heroism running a spy network in Paris is to be recognised with a statue in London

    Khan was posthumously awarded the George Cross in 1949 and the French Croix de Guerre, but her courage has since been allowed to fade into history in Britain... until now.
    And, mainly due to the efforts of her biographer Shrabani Basu, her bravery is finally to be permanently recognised in England with a bronze bust in central London, close to the Bloomsbury house where she lived as a child.
    A campaign to raise £100,000 for what will be the first memorial in Britain to either a Muslim or an Asian woman has won the backing of 34 MPs and prominent British Asians.

    [​IMG] Khan from the book Spy Princess: The Life Of Noor Inayat Khan by Shrabani Basu published in 2006

    Khan was born on New Year's Day 1914 in Moscow to an Indian father and an American mother. She was a direct descendant of Tipu Sultan, the renowned 18th century Muslim 'Tiger of Mysore' who refused to submit to British rule and died in battle.
    Her father was an Indian Muslim preacher who moved his family first to London and then to Paris, where Khan was educated and later worked writing childrens' stories.

    Despite carrying a passport of an imperial subject, Khan had no loyalty to Britain. But she and her brother Vilayat despised the greater evil of Nazi Germany and fled to England after the fall of France.

    [​IMG] Winston Churchill sent SOE agents, including Noor Inayat Khan, to France in 1943 with the instruction to 'set Europe ablaze'

    In November 1940 she joined the Women's Auxiliary Air Force, and two years later her quiet dedication and training in radio transmitting atracted the attention of the SOE.

    Despite doubts about her suitability, she was flown to France in June 1943 to become the radio operator for the 'Prosper' resistance network in Paris, using the codename 'Madeleine' and with the famous instruction to 'set Europe ablaze'.
    Many members of the network were arrested shortly afterwards but she chose to remain in France and, frequently changing her appearance and alias, she spent the summer moving from place to place, trying to relay messages back to London.
    She was eventually betrayed by a Frenchwoman, supposedly the jealous girlfriend of a comrade, and arrested by the Gestapo who discovered that she had unwisely kept copies of all her secret signals. The Germans were able to use her radio to trick London into sending new agents - straight into the hands of the waiting Gestapo.

    In November 1943, she was sent to Pforzheim prison in Germany where she was kept in chains and in solitary confinement. Despite repeated torture, she refused to reveal any information and in September 1944, Khan and three other female SOE agents were transferred to Dachau where they were shot.

    Shrabani Basu, who has spent eight years researching official archives and family records, told the Independent newspaper: 'I feel it is very important that what she did should not be allowed to fade from memory, particularly living in the times that we do.


    A picture in a Dachau concentration camp exhibition shows an execution of inmates, and, above right, camp commandant Wilhelm Ruppert who was hanged for war crimes in 1946. It is thought he shot Noor Inayat Khan.

    'Here was a young Muslim woman who gave her life for this country and for the fight against those who wanted to destroy the Jewish race. She was an icon for the bond that exists between Britain and India but also between people who fought for what they believed to be right.'

    His efforts to rekindle interest in her story includes the making of a £10 million biopic by a British production company.

    Around £25,000 of the cost required for the bust has been raised, and permission has been granted to site the sculpture on land owned by the University of London in Gordon Square. The cause has won the support of human rights campaigner Shami Chakrabarti and film director Gurinder Chadha.

    Noor Inayat Khan was the last essential link between London and Paris after mass arrests by the Gestapo had destroyed the Special Operation Executive's spy network in Paris.

    Her position became so dangerous that her commanders urged her to return. She refused and it was a decision that was to cost Khan her life.

    In November 1940, having fled France with her brother to fight Nazi tyranny, Khan joined the Women's Auxiliary Air Force, and as an Aircraftwoman 2nd Class she was sent to be trained as a wireless operator.

    [​IMG] Noor Inayat Khan's position in Paris became so dangerous that she was urged to return to London but refused

    She was recruited to join F (France) Section of the Special Operations Executive and although her superiors held mixed opinions on her suitability for secret warfare, her fluent French and her competency in wireless operation made her a desirable candidate.

    On June 16, 1943, codenamed 'Madeleine' and under the cover identity of Jeanne-Marie Regnier, Khan was parachuted into Northern France. She travelled to Paris, and together with two other SOE radio operators, Diana Rowden and Cecily Lefort, joined the Physician network led by Francis Suttill.

    During the six weeks immediately following her arrival, the Gestapo made mass arrests in the Paris Resistance groups to which she had been detailed. She refused to abandon what had become the principal and most dangerous post in France as she did not wish to leave her French comrades without communications and also hoped to rebuild her group.

    Despite having a full description of her and deploying considerable forces in their effort to break the last remaining link with London, it was only her betrayal by a French woman that led to her capture by the Gestapo.

    Khan was taken to their HQ where the Germans, now in possession of her codes and messages, asked her to co-operate. She refused and gave them no information of any kind.

    While she was imprisoned in one of the cells on the fifth floor of the Gestapo HQ in Avenue Foch, she made two unsuccessful bids to escape. She was asked to sign a declaration that she would make no further attempts but refused and the Chief of the Gestapo obtained permission from Berlin to send her to Germany for 'safe custody'.

    Khan was sent to Karlsruhe in November 1943, and then to Pforzheim where her cell was apart from the main prison. She was considered to be particularly dangerous and uncooperative.

    Finally Khan was taken with three others to Dachau concentration camp on the September 12, 1944, and on arrival was escorted to the crematorium where she was shot.

  8. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek

    I just saw this on the Mail's site. Good news but I can't but think about all the other female agents who were as equally brave.
  9. Lofty1

    Lofty1 Senior Member

    Hi all, am I correct in thinking the jealous girlfriend was taken to court for selling out Noor Inayat Khan, she was armed with a good barrister and a letter of thanks from Buckmaster for all her good work, ( of which Buckmaster sent many, even to people unknown to him, but had been asked to do so) and I believe she walked free. She had left her flat that morning confident of the outcome of the trial, but unfortunately never made it home that night and has never been seen or heard of since, Sadlythere are many SOE agents in the shadows, regards lofty
  10. soren1941

    soren1941 Living in Ypres

    They have just announced that there will be an item on this programme about Noor Khan the famous SOE agent

    BBC - BBC Radio 4 Programmes - Woman's Hour, 07/01/2011

    Obviously there will be other items about cross stitching, making jam, and other things that ladies worry their pretty little heads over...

    However I'm sure that it will be worth it
  11. Oggie2620

    Oggie2620 Senior Member

    This might be interesting too: Noor Inayat Khan Memorial Trust
    There is a tiny little article in the RAF News this week about this... The article says they are trying to raise £100000 for the memorial...
    A friend of mines mother was an RAF friend of Noor and has a book of her life history in which she is mentioned. The author has signed it. My friends mother later became Lady Mayoress of Ipswich! It was a small world as I happened to mention Noor to my friend and she lent me the book.
    Am recording each day "Wish me luck" the programme about SOE agents in France. I know its a drama but it gives at least the idea while using some of the actual characters. :)
  12. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Hi all, am I correct in thinking the jealous girlfriend was taken to court for selling out Noor Inayat Khan, she was armed with a good barrister and a letter of thanks from Buckmaster for all her good work, ( of which Buckmaster sent many, even to people unknown to him, but had been asked to do so) and I believe she walked free. She had left her flat that morning confident of the outcome of the trial, but unfortunately never made it home that night and has never been seen or heard of since, Sadlythere are many SOE agents in the shadows, regards lofty

    No one from her circuit,the Cinema/Phono circuit betrayed her.Some woman (called the Gestapo and said her name was "Renee") outside the circuit knew where she was living and sold her address to the Germans for 100.000 Francs (about £500 which was the price demanded by the seller and about one tenth of what the Germans would have paid for any clandestine British officer).In November 1949, her organiser's sister,Renee Garry was tried by a military court for the betrayal but found not guilty.Her defence was that she could not be guilty because she had received a testimonial from the British authorities.She was also charged with denouncing her brother but the court found the evidence not sufficient to convict and she was acquitted.

    Noor Inayat Khan was arrested at her flat close to the Avenue Foch ,not far from the Gestapo HQ on possibily 13 October 1943.Renee Garry's brother,the organiser,Emile-Henri and his wife,Marguerite were arrested there a few days later.

    Garry was hanged at Buchenwald on 8 September 1944 but Marguerite,his wife survived the horrors of Ravensbruck and returned home in 1945.
  13. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

  14. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    RAF News - Secret of the RAF's spy princess

    WAAF Noor is honoured

    Secret of the RAF's spy princess
    08 February 2011
    She was young, beautiful, talented and brave – and the last word she spoke before she was executed at Dachau concentration camp was ‘Liberté’.
    A member of the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force, Noor Inayat Khan was recruited into the Special Operations Executive and was the first female radio operator sent into France in 1943 – when it was said to be the most dangerous posting in the country.
    Now a campaign has been launched to honour the WWII heroine with a memorial near her home in London – it will be the first memorial in the UK erected to a Muslim or an Asian woman. The £100,000 appeal is being led by Noor’s biographer Shrabani Basu, author of Spy Princess: The Life of Noor Inayat Khan and backed by a group of MPs and prominent UK Asians including film director Gurinder Chadha, pressure group director Shami Chalkrabati, Labour MP Valerie Vaz and Glenda Jackson.
    Shrabani, founder of the Noor Inayat Khan Trust, said: “The memorial will be in Gordon Square, it’s wonderful that it will be near where she lived.
    “As a secret agent she lived nearby on 4 Taviton Street and would often spend her off days reading on one of the benches in the square.”
    Born in Moscow in 1914 to an Indian father and an American mother, Noor was a direct descendant of Tipu Sultan, the notorious 18th-century ‘Tiger of Mysore’ who refused to submit to British rule and died in battle in 1799.
    Noor grew up in Paris and became a writer – she published children’s stories and a collection of traditional Indian tales. When war broke out she and her brother, Vilayat, decided to come to London to dedicate themselves to the cause against the Nazis.
    Shrabani said: “She was a deeply spiritual person… in principle she believed she had to resist Nazism, she wanted to be in the front-line.”
    A fluent French speaker, Noor joined the SOE, with the codename Madeleine, in June 1943. In a letter to her SOE boss, accepting the post, she writes that she has ‘grown attached’ to the RAF and wants to remain in the Service.

    She ran a cell of spies across the French capital single-handed, until she was betrayed and captured.

    “When her circuit collapsed around her, it was so dangerous London called her back but she refused,” Shrabani explained. “She survived for three more months, doing the work of six radio operators.”

    It is believed she was betrayed by a Frenchwoman, said to be the jealous girlfriend of one of her resistance colleagues, or by the sister of a comrade. Noor was taken to the Gestapo’s Paris HQ and interrogated but she revealed nothing. In November 1943 she was sent to Pforzheim prison in Germany, where she was kept in solitary confinement.

    Shrabanu said: “In the end they knew her only as Nora Baker. She was kept isolated for 10 months, chained and shackled – she could not feed herself nor clean herself. She kept her spirit up right to the end.”

    On September 12, 1944, she was taken to Dachau concentration camp and executed the next day – she was just 30.

    Noor was posthumously awarded the Croix de Guerre and the George Cross in 1949 (one of only three female wartime recipients – the others were Odette Hallows and Violette Szabo). Her courage and sacrifice have long been revered in France where there are two memorials to her and a ceremony on Bastille Day honouring her as a heroine of the French Resistance.

    Artist Karen Newman has been commissioned to create a bronze sculpture of Noor, which it is hoped will be unveiled in September 2012.

    Oscar-winning writer Judy Morris (Happy Feet and Babe, Pig In The City) is writing the screenplay of Spy Princess.

    To donate to the campaign for Noor’s memorial go to: Noor Inayat Khan Memorial Trust.
  15. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    Tribute to a remarkable wartime heroine -
    Military matters

    Funds are being raised for a London memorial to Noor Inayat Khan, an SOE agent executed by the SS in 1944
    Times, The (London, England)-August 6, 2011
    Author: Peter Davies

    A campaign is under way to provide a permanent memorial in London to one of the wartime Special Operations Executive's most remarkable agents, Noor Inayat Khan, who worked as a radio operator in Paris, was arrested by the Gestapo and after unspeakable privations and torture, was shot in Dachau concentration camp in September 1944. The Noor Inayat Khan Memorial Trust, founded by the writer and journalist Shrabani Basu, is in the process of raising funds for a bust of Noor, which it hopes to install next year in Gordon Square, Bloomsbury, near the house where Noor had lived.

    The daughter of a Sufi mystic and an American mother, there was something inescapably exotic about Noor Inayat Khan, too much so, some thought, to make her an ideal undercover spy. "... a splendid, vague dreamy creature, far too conspicuous, once seen, never forgotten," was the verdict of a fellow agent. But her fluent English and French were a great asset, and her abilities, steadfastness and bravery in adversity were never in question.

    Born in the Kremlin in 1914, a direct descendant of Tipu Sultan, the 18thcentury "Tiger of Mysore", she had lived before the war in London and France, where she wrote children's stories for Radio Paris and Le Figaro. Making her way to England as the Germans invaded, in 1940 she enlisted in the WAAF, served in a barrage balloon squadron and passed an advanced wireless course.

    Her signals expertise and her French recommended her to SOE which recruited her in February 1943. After further intensive training in radio and in espionage procedures, on June 16, 1943, "Madeleine" (her nom de guerre) was landed in France by Lysander aircraft and by the next afternoon had arrived in Paris, and was in contact with her allotted network organiser there. By June 22 she was transmitting messages.

    Nevertheless, agent Madeleine had entered France at a bad time. In a wave of arrests the Germans were in the process of scoring major success against SOE's Paris operations. They had captured the heads of one important network and were able to intercept a wide range of radio traffic. Other circuits were put in peril and the next wave of arrests destroyed the very network with which Noor had first made contact.

    From its HQ at 84 Avenue Foch the Sicherheitsdienst (security service) was fast closing in on Noor who was forced to run risks to evade detection. She was ordered to return to England for her own safety; a Lysander would be sent for her. But she begged to be allowed to stay put and lie low for a while, before becoming active again.

    It was to no avail, and in October she was seized by the Gestapo and consigned to one of the cells on the fifth floor at 84 Avenue Foch.

    From here she almost immediately escaped, through a bathroom window, but was quickly recaptured. This did not deter her from a second attempt with another captured agent, which also led to her swift capture, on the roof of No 84. Regarded as dangerous, she was now taken to Germany where she was incarcerated in Pforzheim prison under the grim conditions reserved for those who were meant to "disappear", known as Nacht und Nebel (night and fog). She was kept in solitary confinement on minimum rations, manacled hand and foot, and frequently beaten.

    Finally, in September 1944 she was sent, with three other women SOE agents, Yolande Beekman, Eliane Plewman and Madeleine Damerment to Dachau. There, on the morning of September 13, they were taken from their cells, led outside and shot from behind by an SS man as they knelt together on the earth in pairs, holding hands.

    While still alive, Noor had been recommended by her superiors for the MBE for her work as an agent. After the war she was awarded the posthumous George Cross, while the French conferred on her the Croix de Guerre with Gold Star.

    The London statue of Noor which is to commemorate this life of sacrifice for her adopted country, will be sculpted by Karen Newman, who is at present at work on the maquette. She is the creator of a bronze bust of another SOE heroine, Violette Szabo, also awarded the George Cross posthumously, which was unveiled on the Albert Embankment, near Lambeth Palace, in 2008.

    Donations and pledges have so far raised £30,000 of the £100,000 needed to see the Noor Inayat Khan bust project through. To give impetus to this fundraising effort there will be a "Noor Tribute Concert" at Rudolf Steiner Hall, London NW1 6XT, on August 25 at 7 pm.

    This will feature a 35-minute dance piece, entitled Noor, performed by Felicia Norton to a score by David Mazlin, and "Sufi Music from the Heart of Punjab" by Madan Gopal Singh.

    The Memorial Trust's website is at www.noormemorial org
    "Once seen, never forgotten": Noor Inayat Khan, otherwise known as Madeleine, was captured, tortured and finally shotEdition: 01Section: Features; ObituariesPage: 79
    Record Number: 50350041(c) Times Newspapers Limited 2011

    Tribute to a remarkable wartime heroine - Military matters Funds are being raised for a London memorial to Noor Inayat Khan, an SOE agent executed by the SS in 1944
  16. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    Section Officer NOOR (Nora) INAYAT-KHAN
    G C, Mentioned in Despatches

    9901, Women's Auxiliary Air Force
    seconded to W.T.S. (F.A.N.Y.), attd., Special Operations Executive
    who died
    on 13 September 1944
    (Served as Nora). Daughter of Mrs. O. R. Inayat-Khan, of Oxford.
    Remembered with honour

    The London Gazette of 15th April, 1949, gives the following details: Assistant Section Officer Nora Inayat-Khan was the first woman operator to be sent into enemy-occupied France, on 16th June, 1943. During the weeks immediately following her arrival, the Gestapo made mass arrests among the Paris Resistance Groups, to which she was detailed. She refused to abandon what had become the most important and dangerous post in France, and did excellent work which earned her a posthumous Mention in Despatches. After three and a half months she was betrayed to the Gestapo. They asked her to co-operate in the use of her codes which they discovered, but she refused and gave them no information of any kind. She twice attempted to escape, and when she refused to promise not to make any further attempts, she was sent to Germany "for safe custody"-first to Karlsruhe, then to Pfersheim, where again she refused to give any information as to her work or her colleagues. On 12th September, 1944 she was taken with three others to Dachau concentration camp, where on arrival she was taken into the crematorium and shot. Assistant Section Officer Inayat-Khan displayed the most conspicuous courage, both moral and physical, over a period of more than twelve months.
    CWGC :: Casualty Details

    Attached Files:

  17. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    Anyone need a copy of Noor's file P/M me with a snail mail address - she was someone who despite her bravery when captured should never have been deployed - a total inability to lie and a total ignorance of security - when she was caught she had copies of all messages sent and received both in code and deciphered copied neatly into notebooks - probably meaning others were caught because of her lapses.
    The reference is HS9/836/5
  18. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    Noor Inayat Khan: remembering Britain's Muslim war heroine
    The British spy, captured in France and executed by the Germans in the second world war, is finally being honoured with a statue. But it has been a long and hard campaign
    Share 80


    Noor Inayat Khan in uniform during the war. Photograph: Imperial War Museum
    A statue commemorating Britain's only female Muslim war heroine will become the first stand-alone memorial to an Asian woman in the UK when it is unveiled in London next month.

    Second-world-war spy Noor Inayat Khan was sent into France by Winston Churchill's secret Special Operations Executive (SOE) in June 1943, but was betrayed and captured a few months later. She was shot by the SS in Dachau in September 1944, aged 30, and was posthumously awarded the George Cross as, as well as the Croix de Guerre by France. She was one of only three women in the SOE to be awarded the George Cross. The other two – Violette Szabo and Odette Hallowes – have had far more recognition, including films about their lives.

    Around 300 people are expected to attend the statue's unveiling ceremony on 8 November, including veterans of both the SOE and Women's Auxiliary Air force (WAF). Irene Warner, 91, got to know Noor while they were both training in Edinburgh. "She was very quiet, very shy and often wore a nervous smile, particularly when dancing but she was a very nice person … she was very brave and certainly deserves some recognition."

    Campaigners spent years raising money for the statue, staging concerts by Talvin Singh and Anousha Shankar. Other support included a House of Commons early-day motion in June 2010, tabled by Valerie Vaz, proposing that a statue be erected. It was signed by 34 MPs including Glenda Jackson, Julian Lewis and Peter Bottomley and received cross-party support. The vice chancellor of the University of London also gave permission for the bust to be installed in Gordon Square.

    Campaigners became nervous when, at the final hurdle, on 3 October, Camden council in north London delayed approval. A petition on Facebook attracted 700 letters of support from all over the world. A council spokesman said the application was merely going through "the process all applications follow" and planning permission for the statue was finally granted last week only thee weeks before it is to be unveiled by Princess Anne.

    The petition letter, posted on the Noor Inayat Khan Memorial Trust's Facebook page, had argued for Gordon Square as an ideal location for the statue because "it is a place where many students and members of the public like to sit … the statue will be a timely reminder that we must not forget the principles of non-violence and religious harmony that Noor stood for, and for which she unhesitatingly sacrificed her life."

    Shrabani Basu, founder of the Noor Memorial Trust and author of her biography, Spy Princess, adds: "Noor's house was also nearby and it is where she lived before setting off on her last mission. On her days off she used to sit in the square on a bench with a book on her lap."

    Noor, who was the daughter of Hazrat Inayat Khan, founder of the mystical Sufi Order of the West, was also a musician and poet. The ceremony will feature Dutch Sufi soprano Bep Ragini Pierik, singing one of Noor's poems.

    Given Noor's unique place in history, it is surely about time that she be immortalised in this way. One really has to ask: what took them so long?

    Noor Inayat Khan: remembering Britain's Muslim war heroine | Life and style |
  19. Lofty1

    Lofty1 Senior Member

  20. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    A very brave lady who deserved recognition.


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