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Noor Inayat Khan file photo [22005]

Noor Inayat Khan

SurnameInayat Khan
Given NameNoor
Born2 Jan 1914
Died13 Sep 1944
CountryUnited Kingdom


ww2dbaseNoor-un-Nisa Inayat Khan was born to father Rehmat Khan Pathan Inayat Khan, founder of The Sufi Order religion and a descendant of the royal house of Tipu Sultan of the Kingdom of Mysore. Her mother was Ora Meena Ray Baker, also known as Ameena Begum, an American. In 1914, her family moved from Russia, where she was born, to London, England, United Kingdom. She attended nursery at Notting Hill. In 1920, the family moved to Suresnes near Paris, France. Her father passed away in 1927, and she became the main caretaker of her three younger siblings as her mother was too grief stricken. She studied music and wrote poetry and novels for children, publishing Twenty Jataka Tales in 1939. In 1940, as German troops approached Paris, her family moved to Bordeaux and then Britain. In Britain, she and her brother Vilayat Inayat Khan joined the British armed forces; as a member of the Women's Auxiliary Air Force, she was trained as a wireless operator. In 1942, she was approached by the F (France) Section of the Special Operations Executive (SOE) for her military experience (albeit brief), training in wireless operation, and her fluent French. In Feb 1943, she was transferred to the Directorate of Air Intelligence of the British Air Ministry in preparation for her training as a special agent. The training took place at Wanborough Manor, near Guildford, Surrey, England, United Kingdom. During her training, she adopted the code name "Nora Baker", which was partially based on her mother's maiden name. In Jun 1943, she was delivered to France via a Lysander aircraft, becoming the first woman operator to be infiltrated into German-occupied France. Operating under the wireless code name of "Madeleine" and "Nurse" and living under the false identity of "Jeanne-Marie Regnier", Inayat Khan joined the cell led by Francis Suttill. Within weeks, the cell was discovered by agents of the German Sicherheitsdienst (SD), and its members were being captured. When offered a flight out of France to escape similar fate, she rejected it. She became the only wireless operator in Paris, transmitting small amounts of information at a time and moving constantly to avoid detection. She was ultimately betrayed by either Henri Déricourt or by Renée Garry and became captured in Oct 1943. She was interrogated at the SD headquarters at 84 Avenue Foch in Paris, during which the German agents respected her integrity in refusing to provide any useful intelligence, and uncharacteristically chose not to torture her. Against orders, however, she kept some of her activities in a notebook, which was found by the German agents, which allowed the Germans to send and receive messages from London; this led to the capture of other agents operating in France. On 25 Nov 1943, during an air raid, she, along with fellow Special Operations Executive agents John Renshaw Starr and Leon Faye, attempted to escape. After being recaptured and refusing to sign a declaration renouncing future escape attempts, she was moved to Karlsruhe, Germany two days later, followed by a move to Pforzheim. In Sep 1944, she was transferred to Dachau Concentration Camp in Germany, where she would be brutally beaten and then executed by gunfire to the back of the head two days after her arrival, on 13 Sep 1944. Her remains, along with three others SOE agents who were also executed on the same day (Yolande Beekman, Eliane Plewman, and Madeleine Damerment), were burned in the camp crematorium. She was posthumously awarded the George Cross by the United Kingdom and the Croix de Guerre with silver gilt palm by France.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia

Last Major Revision: Nov 2014

Noor Inayat Khan Interactive Map


Portrait of Noor Inayat Khan, 31 Dec 1942

Noor Inayat Khan Timeline

2 Jan 1914 Noor Inayat Khan was born in Moscow, Russia.
22 Jun 1940 Noor Inayat Khan arrived at Falmouth, Cornwall, England, United Kingdom with her family.
19 Nov 1940 Noor Inayat Khan joined the British Women's Auxiliary Air Force, receiving the rank of Aircraftwoman 2nd Class.
16 Jun 1943 Noor Inayat Khan boarded a Lysander aircraft in Britain for France. She was accompanied by her superior Vera Atkins.
17 Jun 1943 Noor Inayat Khan landed in France via a Lysander aircraft before dawn.
13 Oct 1943 Noor Inayat Khan was captured by agents of the German Sicherheitsdienst (SD) organization in Paris, France.
25 Nov 1943 Noor Inayat Khan attempted a failed escape attempt from her imprisonment at Sicherheitsdienst (SD) headquarters in Paris, France along with fellow Special Operations Executive agents John Renshaw Starr and Leon Faye.
27 Nov 1943 Noor Inayat Khan was transferred to Karlsruhe, Germany.
11 Sep 1944 Noor Inayat Khan was transferred to Dachau Concentration Camp, Germany.
13 Sep 1944 Noor Inayat Khan was brutally beaten then executed by gunfire in the back of the head at Dachau Concentration Camp, Germany.
5 Apr 1949 Noor Inayat Khan was posthumously awarded the George Cross.
8 Nov 2012 The Princess Royal of Britain unveiled a bronze bust of Noor Inayat Khan at Gordon Square Gardens, London, England, United Kingdom.

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Gerard Vallely says:
20 Nov 2014 05:13:31 AM

A very brave woman. Thank goodness there were people like her when they were needed. RIP brave lady and thank you for what you did for us.
2. Anonymous says:
25 Nov 2018 11:17:19 AM

She actually attempted an escape that failed. If she was attempting a failed escape, she was technically successful, because she failed. With me?

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Portrait of Noor Inayat Khan, 31 Dec 1942

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