Noor Inayat Khan

A blue plaque was erected on 25 February at 4 Taviton Street in London, the former home of SOE wireless operator Noor Inayat Khan. She was just 30 when she captured and executed by the Germans at Dachau concentration camp in 1944.

Khan had an international background. She was born in Moscow in 1914 to an Indian father and an American mother. She was raised in both Paris and the UK. She was a writer of both poetry and children’s stories. Her book, Twenty Jakarta Tales was published in 1939.

At the outbreak of the Second World War, she joined the WAAF and later transferred to SOE. She was parachuted into occupied France along with two other female operatives in June 1943 under the codename ‘Nurse’ and with the alias Jeanne-Marie Regnier. She was quickly betrayed to the Germans and in October she was arrested by the Gestapo. She was tortured and held in captivity for almost a year during which time she escaped twice but was recaptured. On 13 September 1944 she was executed at Dachau along with three other female agents. She was posthumously awarded the George Cross, the highest award for valour available to British secret agents.

In recent years, Khan has attracted an increasing amount of attention as a British secret agent who was both a woman and a Muslim. There is already a memorial bust to her in nearby Gordon Square. It was erected by the Noor Inayat Kahn Memorial Trust in 2012.

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