Tag Archives: SOE

Noor Inayat Khan – The Spy Princess

Noor Inayat Khan was a Second World War SOE agent, also famously known as the “Spy Princess”.

Noor was born under the shadows of the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia. Her father was a Sufi saint and her mother an American. Her father had followers all over the world and he was in Moscow to preach his teachings in the royal court. When the First World War broke out her family moved to Great Britain. They then moved to Paris, France permanently. They were gifted a house by one of her father’s followers in Suresnes in the outskirts of Paris. They named it as “Fazil mahal” meaning “Home of Love”. Continue reading Noor Inayat Khan – The Spy Princess

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Book Review: Women Heroes of World War II – by Kathryn J Atwood

book cover Women-Heroes-of-WWIIWomen Heroes of World War II; 26 stories of espionage, sabotage, resistance & rescue – by Kathryn J Atwood

I was lucky enough to be contacted by Kathryn J Atwood, author of several books about the extraordinary lives of women during the First & Second World Wars. Kathyrn had come across the Sheroes of History blog, and rightly guessed that I might be interested in reading her books.

Continue reading Book Review: Women Heroes of World War II – by Kathryn J Atwood

Nancy Wake

Nancy Wake was a New Zealand born journalist turned spy for the British in France during WWII.

Born the youngest of six children, she was majorly affected when her father abandoned the family. At the age of sixteen, she ran away from home and made her way as a nurse. After receiving an unexpected windfall, a bequest left by an aunt, she traveled to London and received training in journalism. She became a European correspondent for a newspaper and situated herself in France.  In this role, she had the opportunity to travel to Vienna and see firsthand the ill treatment of Jewish people, and “saw roving Nazi gangs randomly beating Jewish men and women in the streets”.

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The Women of the Special Operations Executive

During the Second World War the UK’s Special Operations Executive (SOE) had around 50 agents who were female. A small number of these women became fairly well-known, the best examples of these are Violette Szabo, Odette Sansom- Hallowes, and Noor Inyat Khan.

Many of the other female agents can be considered as fairly unknown characters in our history. Some agents found a little fame after the war that had nothing to do with their wartime service for example Lorraine Adie Copeland, wife of CIA agent Miles Copeland, mother of Stuart Copeland and brilliant archaeologist.

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Odette Hallowes

Odette Marie Celine Brailly was born on 28th April 1912. She is one of the most famous Allied spies of the Second World War.

The story for which she is remembered began two years into the Second World War, when the government in England appealed for photos of France which they could use to help them with their operations there. Odette contacted the War Office with photos of her homeland. This act led to her being recruited & trained by the Special Operations Executive (SOE), and in 1942 she was sent to Nazi occupied France to work undercover.

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