UK to honour ‘spy princess’ Noor Inayat Khan

A bronze bust of Noor Inayat Khan, hailed as a heroine of the World War II for her role in a dangerous secret mission against the Nazis, will be unveiled in London by Princess Anne on November 8, marking the culmination of a long campaign by her biographer Shrabani Basu.

The campaign was backed by Prime Minister David Cameron, several parliamentarians including the Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow, and other prominent public figures such as filmmaker Gurinder Chadha and rights activist Shami Chakrabarti.

The Noor Inayat Khan Memorial Trust raised £60,000 from public for the memorial.

The bust, sculpted by London-based artist Karen Newman, will be situated in the north east corner of Gordon Square, near the house where Noor lived. She often spent her off-days reading on a bench in the square.

“We are delighted that HRH The Princess Royal is unveiling the bust. It will be the highest honour for Noor. The memorial for Noor in Gordon Square will ensure that her story of bravery and sacrifice is not forgotten by future generations,” said Ms. Basu, author of Spy Princess, The Life of Noor Inayat Khan, and founder of the trust.

Noor Inayat Khan was a secret agent in the Second World War. She was the first woman radio operator to be infiltrated into occupied France and did crucial work for the Allies.

She was eventually betrayed, captured and killed in the Dachau Concentration Camp. Her last word was Liberte. She was posthumously awarded the George Cross by Britain and France awarded her the Croix de Guerre.

Born in Moscow to an Indian father, Hazrat Inayat Khan and an American mother, Ora Ray Baker, Noor was a descendant of Tipu Sultan, the eighteenth century ruler of Mysore. The family lived in London and moved to Paris when Noor was six.

In 1940 as Paris fell to occupation, Noor returned to London to volunteer for the war effort. She joined the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) and was eventually recruited by the Special Operations Executive (SOE).

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Printable version | Nov 26, 2021 12:52:56 PM |

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