World War II

United Kingdom

E - J

Escott, Beryl E. [Sqn. Ldr.]

1. Heroines of the SOE F Section: Britain's Secret Women in France. Stroud : History Press, 2010.

From publisher: "Beryl Escott tells the true story of the incredible 40 women who worked" for SOE during World War II. "These women came from a variety of backgrounds.... She explores what made them risk their lives.... She takes us on a journey through their recruitment and training into their undercover operations,...and details their often tragic demise from death by injection to being shot in a prisoner of war camp[]."

2. Mission Improbable: A Salute to the RAF Women of SOE in Wartime France. Cambridge: Stephens, 1991.

Tells the stories of 15 women from the WAAF who served with SOE in France during WWII.

http://www.nielsenbookdata.co.uk: The author "examines the role played" in the SOE by women of the Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF). "Their mission was indeed improbable and hazardous.... In view of the dangers and horrific ordeals undergone by these young women, it is miraculous that some of the missions were successful, but the cost in lives was high. Beryl Escott uses her knowledge and experience of the Women's Royal Air Force to piece together the stories of 15 women of the SOE."

FitzSimmons, Peter. Nancy Wake: The Inspiring Story of One of the War's Greatest Heroines. London: HarperCollins, 2002. Nancy Wake: A Biography of our Greatest War Heroine. Sydney: HarperCollins, 2001.

Nancy Wake-Fiocca ("Andreé") was an Australian national who was living in Marseilles when France fell in June 1940. She joined the Resistance and had to flee France when the escape organization with which she was working was rolled up in March 1943. She parachuted back into France as an SOE liaison with the Maquis in March 1944. Cookridge, Inside SOE, p. 355. Peake, Studies 46.4, says that this "is a fine example of the little known roles that women played in the clandestine service during the war." See also Wake, The White Mouse (1985), and Braddon, Nancy Wake (1957).

Foot, M.R.D. Six Faces of Courage. London: Methuen, 1978.

Fuller, Jean Overton. The German Penetration of SOE: France 1941-44. London: William Kimber, 1975.

Constantinides: This work argues that warnings received in London about the arrests of SOE agents by the Germans (and the continuation of operations under German control) were incorrectly interpreted because of incompetence rather than perfidy.

Fuller, Jean Overton. Madeleine. London: Gollancz, 1952. Born for Sacrifice: The Story of Noor Inayat Khan. London: Pan, 1957. Noor-un-nisa Inayat Khan. The Hague: East-West Publications, 1988.

Constantinides: Khan was an SOE radio operator who died after being captured by the Germans. The 1957 edition added new material to the 1952 version. Fuller updates her views on Khan in The German Penetration of SOE. Clark comment: Khan's personal file from SOE was included in the May 2003 release of documents transferred to the National Archives, Kew. See also, Basu, Spy Princess (2006).

Gleeson, James. They Feared No Evil: The Woman Agents of Britain's Secret Armies, 1939-45. London: Hale, 1976.

Helm, Sarah. A Life in Secrets: The Story of Vera Atkins and the Lost Agents of SOE. London: Little Brown, 2005. New York: Nan A. Talese, 2006.

According to Peake, Studies 50.1 (Mar. 2006), Atkins was "the very influential special assistant to the head of [SOE's] French branch, F Section, with particular responsibilities for selecting and training personnel." After the war, she went to Europe to try to discover what happened to the operatives who did not return, especially 12 women who she knew personally. This work "tells a fascinating tale about an exceptional woman."

Goulden, Intelligencer 15.2 (Fall-Winter 2006-2007), finds that the author "writes in near-novelistic style and is adept at exploring the emotional issues that are an inescapable part of her story.... In sum: new material, well-written, a highly readable account."

Howarth, Patrick. Undercover: The Men and Women of Special Operations Executive. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1980.

Jones, Liane. A Quiet Courage: The Story of SOE's Women Agents in France. New York: Bantam Dell, 1989. London: Bantam, 1989. A Quiet Courage. London: Corgi, 1991. [pb]

Return to Women Table of Contents