Resistance Fighter Noor Inayat Khan Honoured With Plaque in Central London

Hon. Assistant Section Officer Noor Inayat Khan (code name Madeleine), George Cross, MiD, Croix de Guerre avec Etoile de Vermeil. Noor Inayat Khan served as a wireless operator with F Section, Special Operations Executive.

Hon. Assistant Section Officer Noor Inayat Khan (code name Madeleine), George Cross, MiD, Croix de Guerre avec Etoile de Vermeil. Noor Inayat Khan served as a wireless operator with F Section, Special Operations Executive.

Female spy, Noor Inayat Khan, born in Moscow to Indian and US parents, made history in WWII when she became the first Muslim woman to be deployed behind enemy lines in Paris, France in 1943.

Today she is making history once more as…

Source: Resistance Fighter Noor Inayat Khan Honoured With Plaque in Central London

The Secret London Exhibition for Spies’ Eyes Only – Atlas Obscura

Installation shots from inside the exhibition. THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES: HS10-1-3

Installation shots from inside the exhibition. THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES: HS10-1-3

When Ealing Studios released a feature film in 1948 that showed a secret wartime spy workshop hidden in London’s Natural History Museum, the plot was too far-fetched for critics and the public. The New York Times said Against the Wind conveyed only “a minimum of the truth” behind Second World War sabotage efforts. Its director Charles Crichton—perhaps best known for the comedy A Fish Called Wanda—was also rebuffed: “Only Crichton would think of having his secret London headquarters in a museum of stuffed dinosaurs” scoffed…

via The Secret London Exhibition for Spies’ Eyes Only – Atlas Obscura

Kick Kennedy, the Marquess & the Earl – Turtle Bunbury

kickkennedy

Seventy years ago today, a plane crash in southern France ended the life of Kick Kennedy, oldest sister of Jack and Bobby, and her lover, Peter, Earl Fitzwilliam. This story recounts the series of events that lead up to the tragedy and the remarkable Irish connections to each of the protagonists…

via Kick Kennedy, the Marquess & the Earl – Turtle Bunbury

Shrabani Basu in conversation with James Vaux [YouTube]

Bembridge Ramshackle Cinema & Events presents Shrabani Basu in conversation with James Vaux. Historian & journalist Shrabani Basu is the author of ‘Victoria & Abdul’, upon which the feature film starring Dame Judi Dench & Eddie Izard is based, as well as ‘Spy Princess’, the story of Noor Inayat Khan, a descendant of an Indian prince who became a secret agent for SOE in World War II. She is also the author of ‘Curry’ The Story of the Nation’s Favourite Dish and ‘For King and Another Country’, Indian Soldiers on the Western Front 1914-18. The video recording of the conversation at Bembridge Village Hall, Isle of Wight on Sunday 8th April 2018 is produced by Christopher Offer.

John Pendlebury and the Battle of Crete – Paddy’s speech | Patrick Leigh Fermor

John Pendlebury at Knossos

The following is the text of a speech given by Patrick Leigh Fermor at Knossos, Crete, on 21 May as part of the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the Battle of Crete. by Patrick Leigh Fermor…

Source: John Pendlebury and the Battle of Crete – Paddy’s speech | Patrick Leigh Fermor

Tales of a Polish Woman

toritto

Originally posted several years ago on a curated site elsewhere 

Christine Granville, nee Krystyna Skarbek, O.B.E., GM, Croix de Guerre, died tragically on June 15, 1952. She was a Special Operations Executive Agent during the war, celebrated for her daring and resourcefulness in intelligence and irregular warfare in Nazi occupied Poland and France. She was one of the longest serving of Britain’s wartime agents and was decorated by the King after the war.  In 1941 she began using the nom de guerre Christine Granville and adopted it with her naturalization as a British citizen in February 1947. She was 37 years old when she died.

Krystyna Skarbek, “Vesper” to her father,  was the daughter of a Polish Count, well educated, fluent in English and French, an avid skier and horseback rider. It was at the stables, in fact, where she first me Andrzej (Andrew) Kowerski while their respective fathers discussed…

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The History Girls: Setting Europe Ablaze, by Y S Lee

Pearl Witherington (English, 1914-2008)

Pearl Witherington (English, 1914-2008)

In December, I introduced you to my historical boyfriend, Freddy Spencer Chapman. Since then, my research has led me to the more general history of SOE, the Special Operations Executive that operated parallel to – and sometimes in conflict with – established military intelligence during the Second World War.

Chances are, you’ve heard bits and pieces about SOE’s exploits in both fact and fiction. Historian M R D Foot says it was “formed in a tearing hurry during the summer crisis of 1940, at Churchill’s direct prompting” and dismantled in 1946. Churchill’s actual directive was for SOE to “set Europe ablaze”. Now, looking back, what reader or writer could resist such an invitation? Even better, because the organization no longer exists, its six years of secrets can be fully explored without endangering lives. Finally, there’s the romance of it all: clandestine recruitment of a diverse and international group of volunteers who didn’t know what they’d be doing, but were willing to perform “duties of a hazardous nature”.

SOE’s work is at the centre of recent novels like Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name: Verity, William Boyd’s Restless, and many others. I’ve recently been reading some non-fiction sources in an absolute fever of excitement. Currently, I have SOE and the Resistance: As told in the Times Obituaries (ed. Michael Tillotson, 2011) and Forgotten Voices of the Secret War: An Inside History of Special Operations in the Second World War (ed. Roderick Bailey, 2008). Today, I want to share a few highlights in hopes of enticing you to join me.

Einar Skinnarland
Skinnarland was an engineer at a hydroelectric plant in German-occupied Norway that was scheduled to produce heavy water for the Nazi plutonium project. In May 1940, Skinnarland took a one-month leave from his job at the plant, joined a group of young Norwegians who hijacked a coastal steamer, and sailed it to Aberdeen to offer their services to the Allies. He brought with him detailed information about the plant’s security systems and volunteered to return for a sabotage operation. After “very basic” parachute training, the RAF dropped Skinnarland back into the Norwegian mountains, in good time for his return to work after a “holiday”! Skinnarland and his associate, Knut Haukelid, spent several months training resisters in…

Continue reading:  The History Girls: Setting Europe Ablaze, by Y S Lee.