A deeply honest and innocent secret agent
16th June 1943: Special Operations Executive Agent Noor Inayat Khan is despatched to France despite the doubts of those training her
The Special Operations Executive, SOE, had been established, in Churchill's words, to 'set Europe ablaze'. It was now doing its best to support the French Resistance by dropping agents by parachute and plane to provide radio liaison with London. It was exceptionally hazardous work as the Gestapo were known to be making inroads into the Resistance.
An improbable candidate for this role was Noor Inayat Khan, a princess from one of India's Royal families and a Muslim. Her early life in Paris gave her the advantage of being a fluent French speaker - but she lacked some of the qualities usually sought in secret agents. It was a sign of SOE's desperation to get agents into the field that she was selected for the role.