Noor Inayat Khan
Words by Philip Barnett
A letter to Noor Inayat Khan
Thank you for volunteering to join the the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force in November 1940.
A difficult decision for a 26 year old who had been strongly influenced by the pacifist teachings of her father.
You were born in Moscow to an Indian father and American mother, and soon afterwards your family moved to London.
Your initial training in the WAAF was as a wireless operator. Then recruitment into the Special Operations Executive in 1943 resulted in you going into occupied Paris, the first woman radio operator to be sent behind enemy lines.
Eventually captured, you escaped and were recaptured, before being held in solitary confinement for almost a year, hands and feet shackled.
You were executed in September 1944.
The citation for your posthumous George Cross includes the words:
“She refused however to abandon what had become the principal and most dangerous post in France, although given the opportunity to return to England, because she did not wish to leave her French comrades without communications. She displayed the most conspicuous courage, both moral and physical over a period of more than 12 months.”
Thank you for being a member of the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force and for your part in helping to win The Second World War.
And thank you for your example of service to our nation.
Rest in peace
Noor Inayat Khan, GC