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

WWII Heroines: Violette Szabo | A R T L▼R K

A reblog of a reblog because the original link is no longer extant!
On the 26th of June 1921, Violette Szabo, daughter of an English cabbie and a French dressmaker was born in Paris. Raised in Britain, she married at a young age, but lost her husband when he was ki…

Source: WWII Heroines: Violette Szabo | A R T L▼R K

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.