World War II

United Kingdom

A - D

 Baden-Powell, Dorothy. They Also Serve: An SOE Agent in the WRNS. London: Hale, 2004.

From publisher: This is an "account of one woman's experiences during World War II within the Special Operations Executive and the WRNS [Women's Royal Naval Service]. At the Scandinavian Section of the SOE, Dorothy Baden-Powell was engaged in sending Norwegian saboteurs into occupied Norway and debriefing them on their return to London. After spending a year and a half with the SOE,... she was given an assignment in the WRNS to try to break a ring of enemy spies."

Basu, Shrabani. Spy Princess: The Life of Noor Inayat Khan. Stroud, UK: Sutton, 2006. Gilsum NH: Omega,2007. [pb]

From publisher: Noor Inayat Khan, code named "Madeleine," was the SOE-trained "first woman wireless transmitter in occupied France during WWII"; she "assumed the most dangerous resistance post in underground Paris. Betrayed into the hands of the Gestapo,... [s]he was executed at Dachau in 1944." See Daily Mail (London), "After 65 Years in the Shadows, the Indian Heroine of Churchill's Elite SOE Spy Network Is to Be Recognised with a Statue in London," 4 Jan. 2011. See also, Fuller, Born for Sacrifice (1957).

 Binney, Marcus. The Women Who Lived for Danger: The Women Agents of SOE in the Second World War. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2002. The Women Who Lived for Danger: The Agents of the Special Operations Executive. New York: Morrow, 2003. New York: Harper, 2004. [pb]

According to Peake, Studies 47.1 (2003), the author "tells the story of ten SOE women who served behind enemy lines.... Some have had their stories told before, but recently released material from the British archives ... has added new details.... Binney includes chapters on training and agent life that provide essential background.... The stories are well told and worth reading." For Bath, NIPQ 20.1, the author gives "a factual and compelling picture" and "helps put in perspective some of the more romanticized accounts of agent activities" published earlier. King, NIPQ 22.4, adds that the book "provides valuable details to well-established histories of the SOE."

Braddon, Russell. Nancy Wake: The Story of a Very Brave Woman. London: Cassell, 1956. New York: Norton, 1957. Woman in Arms: The Story of Nancy Wake. Special edition abridged for young readers. London: Collins, 1963. Nancy Wake: SOE's Greatest Heroine. Stroud: History Press, 2009

Burns, John F. "Eileen Nearne, Wartime Spy, Dies at 89." New York Times, 21 Sep. 2010. [http://www.nytimes.com]

On 21 September 2010, Eileen Nearne's funeral service "featured a military bugler and piper and an array of uniformed mourners. A red cushion atop her coffin bore her wartime medals." She was "one of 39 British women who were parachuted into France" by SOE. Nearne operated "a secret radio link from Paris that was used to organize weapons drops to the French resistance and to shuttle messages back and forth between controllers in London and the resistance.... [S]he was arrested by the Gestapo in July 1944 and sent" to Ravensbruck and later to Markleberg. She eventually escaped and "linked up with American troops."

Butler, Josephine. Churchill's Secret Agent: Josephine Butler (Code Name "Jay Bee"). Toronto: Methuen, 1983. London: Blaketon-Hall, 1984. [pb]

Clark comment: This appears to be a fantasy. http://www.cloakanddagger.com/ dagger: The author claimed to be "a member of Churchill's secret circle with more than 50 behind-the-lines infiltrations in France; she was captured, tortured and escaped to work with a group of Resistance fighters." Wiant, Studies 46.2 (2002), reviewing Nigel West's Counterfeit Spies (1998), comments that Butler "made up dozens of missions into occupied territory."

Cornioley, Pearl Witherington.

1. Ed., Kathryn J. Atwood. Code Name Pauline: Memoirs of a WWII Special Agent. Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 2013.

This is the author's memoir of service with SOE in France.

2. "Pauline." Lamotte-Beuvron: Imprimerie Autrive, 1996.

This is the French version, published previously, of the above memoir. Foot, I&NS 12.4, notes that this series of talks between "an Englishwoman far beyond the ordinary" and a French journalist certainly does not constitute an autobiography; nor does it substitute for a full-fledged biography. Nevertheless, Pearl Witherington Cornioley does describe her 18 months of field work with SOE in France. She was part of Maurice Southgate's "Stationer" circuit and, after Southgate's capture by the Germans, ran her own small resistance circuit.

3. See also, Carole Seymour-Jones, She Landed by Moonlight: The Story of Secret Agent Pearl Witherington; "the real Charlotte Gray" (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2013).

Peake, Studies 59.1 (Mar. 2015), finds that this work provides "much greater detail" than Cornioley's memoir, including "a great deal about [her] operational life in the resistance." Additionally, "there is more context on the conduct of the war as it affected the resistance."

Daily Mail (London). "After 65 Years in the Shadows, the Indian Heroine of Churchill's Elite SOE Spy Network Is to Be Recognised with a Statue in London." 4 Jan. 2011. [http://www.dailymail.co.uk]

Noor Inayat Khan was the "first female radio operator sent into Nazi-occupied France." Working for SOE's F (France) Section, she was the radio operator (codename "Madeleine") for the "Prosper" resistance network in Paris, until "she was betrayed and captured." She was "executed at Dachau concentration camp on September 13, 1944, aged just 30.... [H]er bravery is ... to be permanently recognised in England with a bronze bust in central London, close to the Bloomsbury house where she lived as a child." See Basu, Spy Princess (2006); and Fuller, Born for Sacrifice (1957).According to Surveillant 1.3, this book presents the "[t]rue stories of six British women agents who were dropped into occupied France during the Second World War." Van Seters, I&NSst thoughtful commentary to date on any field of women's secret service work."

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