23. The First Female SOE Wireless Operator in Nazi-Occupied France
British intelligence caught wind of Noor Inayat Khan’s requests for a more challenging assignment, and they were more than happy to oblige her. She had grown up in France and was fluent in French. That made her quite a catch for the British, who faced a severe shortage of French speakers. So she was recruited by the French section of the Special Operations Executive (SOE), and in early 1943, was sent to train as a clandestine wireless operator behind enemy lines.
The fact that she had been previously trained as a wireless operator gave her an edge and head start over other trainees. Noor was not the first SOE woman sent to France. However, the Muslim princess was the first SOE woman who was infiltrated into France as a wireless operator – the other women sent before her had all been couriers. Noor’s job was to maintain a link between the Resistance in France and the Allies in London, and send and receive messages to coordinate activities.