Princess Noor-un-nisa Inayat Khan
Princess Noor-un-Nisa Inayat Khan was born in 1914 and was the descendant of Tipu Sultan, the 18th century leader of the Kingdom of Mysore. Her father was a noble Indian Muslim man who lived in Europe and worked as musician and teacher. Prior to World War II, she attended school and made a career for herself writing poetry and children’s stories in France. After the fall of France she fled with her family to England in June 1940.
Inayat was a pacifist and wanted to stop the Nazis, so she joined the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force in November 1940. She was trained as a wireless operator and then assigned to a bomber training school in 1941. She was eventually recruited into the F Section of the Special Operations Executive. But her training was never completed, as her superiors were unsure if she was suitable for espionage.
Inayat spoke French and was trained in wireless operation. There was a shortage of trained agents so she was flown into France in June 1943. Khan traveled to Paris and joined the Physician network. Just a month and a half after she had joined, all other radio operators in the network were arrested along with hundreds of other resistance members. With the dangers facing her, Khan was offered passage back to Britain but she refused, staying behind as the only wireless operator still working in Paris.
She managed to avoid capture even with wireless detection vans constantly following her, and she became the most wanted British agent in Paris. She was arrested in October 1943 after being betrayed by someone in the organization. She attempted to escape the next month, after which she was sent to Pforzheim, Germany, where she was kept shackled for 10 months. Despite being beaten and starved, Inayat never revealed any information, and was executed at Dachau on September 13, 1944.