01 January 2008

George Cross: N. I. Khan


Assistant Section Officer, Women's Auxiliary Air Force; seconded Women's Transport Service (First Aid Nursing Yeomanry) and Special Operations Executive

Born: 1 January 1914, Moscow, Russia
Died: 13 September 1944, Dachau, Germany

Citation: Assistant Section Officer Nora [sic] Inayat-Khan was the first woman operator to be infiltrated into enemy occupied France, and was landed by Lysander aircraft on 16th June, 1943. During the weeks immediately following her arrival, the Gestapo made mass arrests in the Paris Resistance groups to which she had been detailed. 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 and she hoped also to rebuild her group. She remained at her post therefore and did the excellent work which earned her a posthumous Mention in Despatches.
The Gestapo had a full description of her, but knew only her code name "Madeleine". They deployed considerable forces in their effort to catch her and so break the last remaining link with London. After 3½ months she was betrayed to the Gestapo and taken to their H.Q. in the Avenue Foch. The Gestapo had found her codes and messages and were now in a position to work back to London. They asked her to co-operate, but she refused and gave them no information of any kind. She was imprisoned in one of the cells on the 5th floor of the Gestapo H.Q. and remained there for several weeks during which time she made two unsuccessful attempts at escape. She was asked to sign a declaration that she would make no further attempts but she refused and the Chief of the Gestapo obtained permission from Berlin to send her to Germany for "safe custody". She was the first agent to be sent to Germany.
Assistant Section Officer Inayat-Khan was sent to Karlsruhe in November, 1943, and then to Pforsheim where her cell was separate from the main prison. She was considered to be a particularly dangerous and unco-operative prisoner. The Director of the prison has also been interrogated and has confirmed that Assistant Section Officer Inayat-Khan, when interrogated by the Karlsruhe Gestapo, refused to give any information whatsoever, either as to her work or her colleagues.
She was taken with three others to Dachau Camp on the 12th September, 1944. On arrival, she was taken to the crematorium and shot.
Assistant Section Officer Inayat-Khan displayed the most conspicuous courage, both moral and physical over a period of more than twelve months.

(London Gazette Issue 38578 dated 5 Apr 1949, published 5 Apr 1949.)

Note: The other three SOE agents who were transferred with her from Karlsruhe to Dachau were Yolande Beekman, Eliane Plewman and Madeleine Damerment.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am the author of a series of book on the George Cross and the owner of the only dedicated GC website gc-database.co.uk - you may be interested in my books. also it is worth mentioning that the mdal you have for Noor is incorrect as female Gcs are mounted on a bow not a ribbon.