Noor Inyat Khan

Noor Inyat Khan (1 January 1914- 11 September 1944) Born of an Indian father (Inayat Khan) and an American mother (Ora Ray Baker, who was a relative of Mary Baker Eddy, founder of Christian Science).

Princess (she was a descendent of Tipu Sultan, the ruler of Mysore) Noor Inyat Khan was a wireless operator in the Women's Auxillary Air Force (WAAF). She was recruited by the War Office to join the Special Operations Executive and in early February 1943 she was sent to Wanborough Manor to begin training.

16 June 1943, the princess-spy was flown to Le Mans. She became the first female SOE agent to be parachuted into France. She traveled to Paris and together with two other women (Diana Rowden, code named Paulette, and Cecily Lefort, code named Alice) joined the Prosper Network led by Francis Suttill. Shortly after they arrived in Paris, a number of Prosper Network's operators were arrested by the Gestapo. Although Khan was told to return to Britian she refused, choosing to remain at her station where she kept the SOE informed of the situations in France.

Soon, however, the Gestapo arrested Khan and interrogated her at the Gestapo Headquarters. She was not tortured but her interrogation lasted over a month. During that time, she attempted escape twice. Although Khan would not reveal any information about her activities during the interrogations, the Gestapo did find her notebooks which contained coded messages that she had sent and received as an SOE operative. They easily broke her code and were able to send messages to London that enabled them to catch three more agents in France.

The princess was taken to Germany and imprisoned at Pforzheim in solitary confinement (because she was considered dangerous and uncooperative). Khan continued to refuse to give any information on her work or her fellow operatives.

On September 11, 1944, Noor Inyat Khan, along with three other SOE agents, Yolande Beekman, Eliane Plewman and Madeleine Damerment, were moved to Dachau Concentration Camp. The women were lined up and forced to kneel, after which they were all murdered by a single shot to the head.

Princess Noor Inyat Khan, published writer of children stories and SOE agent code-named "Madeleine", was posthumously awarded the George Cross in 1949.


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