Memorial for the Female Secret Agents Of WWII

female secret agents

The mosaic memorial has been dedicated to the women who jumped out of RAF Tempsford, Bedfordshire, behind the enemy lines to help resistance troops in occupied Europe.

These are the women who who risked it all for their country and who deserve recognition for the hard times they endured during the Second World War.

According to historian Bernard O’Connor, more than 80 women who served as secret agents, are known to have flown from one of Britain’s most secret airbase. He also said that although they have been awarded for their work and for their bravery, most of their stories are still unknown.

In an interview with the BBC, Mr O’Conner insisted that these stories should be told and that people should be aware of the importance of their missions throughout the war, The Telegraph reports.

Noreen Riols was based in the headquarters of the Special Operations Executive during the war. She said the female secret agents who flew out would sometimes be carrying suicide pills, to use them in case they were caught.

“We used to watch them go and hope they‘d come back. There was nothing else we could do,” said Noreen.

Women would attract less attention than man and that was the reason why they would take on most of the courier operations. The also had to learn combat skills and undergo paramilitary training, just like the male agents.

When sent to occupied Europe, they would carry knives, revolvers, drugs used to knock out the enemies when they needed to and suicide pills.

If there was nobody waiting for them, they had to find their way around and get to a safe place where they would continue their secret operation.

Prince Charles stayed for a chat and half a pint with some of the Second World War vets who shared memories with him.

“It was a marvelous day and a remarkable occasion for the village,” said Professor Tazi Hussain, chairman of the Tempsford Memorial Trust.

Among the attendees of the ceremony was Sir John Sawers, the head of MI6, who expressed his admiration for these women and for their “extraordinary bravery which helped change the war”.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE