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Female Heroes of World War II

The Second World War by its sheer nature became one of the deadliest wars of the 20th Century. This led to the raise of many outstanding personalities both men and women who because of their commitment to save humanity have been etched in our memories till today. One such person is the slain martyr Noor Inayat Khan. Born in 1914 in Moscow, then Russian empire, to a descendent of a princely Muslim family from India Noor was the eldest of four children.

The family soon relocated first to London and then to France where Noor received her education. She lost her father in 1927, at the tender age of thirteen, and endeavoured to take care of her mother and her siblings. Life became tougher for the family and they had to flee France in 1940 once again before the government surrendered to Germany.

They went back to England where Noor started to work with the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF). She became a wireless operator in WAAF and it was her commendable performance there that she was recruited by the Special Operations Executive (SOE) in 1942.  Shortly afterwards, in the same year she was sent to France as the first female radio operator to join a specially trained unit.

But as fate would have it, her unit was soon infiltrated and was asked by her commanders to return to England. But despite the danger of getting arrested Noor continued to transmit information to her officers and eventually got caught and sent to Pforzheim prison in Germany and was executed by the Germans in 1944.

Although her life as an SOE agent was short what makes her remarkable is her refusal to quit the job even when faced with the possibility of capture and subsequent torture. It is known that Noor despite being kept in solitary confinement and long sessions of interrogations, beatings and starvation refused to reveal any information to the Nazis. What makes her truly remarkable woman is despite being the care taker of a family, despite facing death she refused to cower before Nazism. She stood up for what she believed in, and firmly stood her ground till the end.
It is women like these, with their honesty and acts of bravery who provide inspiration and courage to other women across the world to fight for their rights and their ideals. It is these women who through their lives teach us that world indeed can be made a better place.