Indian-origin British spy Noor Inayat Khan to be honoured with ‘blue plaque’

Updated on Mar 04, 2020 10:14 PM IST
Noor Inayat Khan worked for the Special Operations Executive in Paris during 1943. She evaded capture by the Nazis and continued to send messages to London for far longer than expected, but was betrayed, arrested and interrogated, but refused to give up secrets.
(Photo Courtesy: English Heritage)
(Photo Courtesy: English Heritage)
Hindustan Times, London | By

A ‘blue plaque’ is to be placed on the house in Bloomsbury in London’s West End to honour the work and memory of Indian-origin British spy during World War II, Noor Inayat Khan, who worked as an Allied wireless officer, but was caught and executed in 1944.

English Heritage, the organisation that runs the ‘blue plaques’ scheme, announced on Wednesday that Khan is among six women to be so honoured this year. Born in Moscow in 1914 to a Sufi teacher and an American mother, Khan was educated in London and Paris.

She worked for the Special Operations Executive in Paris during 1943. She evaded capture by the Nazis and continued to send messages to London for far longer than expected, but was betrayed, arrested and interrogated, but refused to give up secrets.

Khan was executed at Dachau in September 1944; she has been described as “one of the silent heroes of the Second World War”.

Besides the George Cross and the French Croix de Guerre, she has been honoured with a bust in central London and a stamp.

Founded in 1866, the ‘blue plaques’ scheme celebrates links between notable figures of the past and the buildings in which they lived and worked.

English Heritage said: “Her blue plaque will mark the house in Bloomsbury that was her family home when she left for France in 1943 and where her family received the news that she was missing the following year. She ultimately lost her life at the hands of the Gestapo in 1944”.

Several Indians have been honoured through ‘blue plaques’ on London houses and venues with which they were associated, including Rammohun Roy, Mahatma Gandhi, Vallabhbhai Patel and B R Ambedkar.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Prasun Sonwalkar was Editor (UK & Europe), Hindustan Times. During more than three decades, he held senior positions on the Desk, besides reporting from India’s north-east and other states, including a decade covering politics from New Delhi. He has been reporting from UK and Europe since 1999.

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