The remarkable life of the Indian-origin spy Noor Inayat Khan who worked as an Allied wireless officer during the Second World War and was executed at Dachau in 1944, is to be commemorated in a special stamp series to be issued on Tuesday.
The series, titled ‘Remarkable Lives’, includes Khan and nine other prominent individuals, including Alec Guinness, Dylan Thomas, Kenneth Moore, Joe Mercer, Barbara Ward and Joan Littlewood.
Noorunissa Inayat Khan was born in 1914 in Moscow and is described in the stamp series note as “one of the silent heroes of the Second World War”.
She worked as a wireless officer for the British Special Operations Executive in Paris during 1943 (she had escaped to Britain after the fall of France in 1940). She evaded capture by the Nazis and continued to send important messages to London for far longer than expected.
Khan was betrayed, arrested and interrogated, but refused to give up secrets. She was executed at Dachau in September 1944.
Born in Moscow to a Sufi teacher and an American mother, and descended from the 18th century Tipu Sultan of Mysore, Khan was educated in London and Paris. She was posthumously awarded the French Croix de Guerre and was one of only three women to receive the British George Cross for service during the Second World War.
A memorial to her in Gordon Square Gardens, London, was unveiled by the Princess Royal in 2012.
The 10 different stamps that are part of the series go on sale on Tuesday. Each first class stamp includes a portrait of the individual, their name, when they were born and died, and what they contributed to British society.
Andrew Hammond, Royal Mail’s director of stamps, said, “The Remarkable Lives stamp issue creates a great sense of history, and captures both the achievement and endeavour of these exceptional people.”
(With agency input)