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Forces War Records Blog

HONOURING WORLD WAR II FEMALE SECRET AGENTS

Blogger:GemSen Prince Charles has recently unveiled a memorial that commemorates the brave women who flew from Britain to aid resistance movements during the Second World War. The mosaic memorial honours the female secret agents who left RAF Tempsford in Bedfordshire to parachute behind enemy lines, reported the Telegraph. RAF Tempsford was one of the most secret airbases in Britain. The Special Operations Executive Officially formed on 22 July 1940, The Special Operations Executive (SOE) was a British World War II organisation set up to conduct espionage, sabotage and reconnaissance in occupied Europe against the Axis powers, and to aid local resistance movements. SOE operated in all countries or former countries occupied by or attacked by the Axis forces, except the Soviet Union and the United States. According to sources the organisation directly employed just over 13,000 people and about 3,200 of them were women.
 
Women apparently attracted less attention in occupied countries so therefore were considered better couriers and were also sent in as trained radio operators. Based in the headquarters of the Special Operations Executive, during World War Two, and speaking about the new memorial Noreen Riols, told the Telegraph: “I feel awfully glad it has happened. I wonder why they just make it for women, because an awful lot of men flew out from there too. She said the women who flew out, often armed with suicide pills to save themselves torture if they were caught, were “very brave, very courageous and very afraid too most of them”. She said: “Brave people are always afraid, but it’s a question of facing up to your fears and going, which is what they did. “We used to watch them go and hope they‘d come back. There was nothing else we could do.” Source: Telegraph Want to find out more about your ancestors and their roles during war? Why not log on to Forces War Records and search our vast collection of records and start your family history research… Delve into our ‘historic documents’ library and read some of the interesting war diaries that we get sent – there’s nothing quite like reading a personal account of war as history unfolds itself through the eyes of somebody who was actually there.
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