Today we honour and remember all armed forces members who have died in the line of duty. We especially honour the Special Operations Executive which was formed by Winston Churchill in 1940. In the Special Operations Executive (SOE) women were trained to handle guns and explosives, work undercover, and endure interrogation by the Gestapo.
Once in enemy territory, theirs was the most dangerous war of all, leading an apparently normal civilian life but in constant danger of arrest. They organised dropping grounds for the resistance, helped operate escape lines for airmen who had been shot down over Europe, and provided Allied Command with vital intelligence.
The women who served in the SOE were young and brave. At a time when women in the armed forces were restricted to a strictly non-combatant role in warfare, the women of the SOE trained and served alongside the men. They fought not in the front line but well behind it. If caught, as were fifteen of the fifty women sent from Britain to France, they faced harsh and sometimes brutal interrogation by the Gestapo and the brutality of the concentration camps.
One such operative was Marguerite ‘Peggy’ Knight, of which Colonel Maurice Buckmaster wrote on June 19th 1945. “Young girl of an altogether exceptional courage and good sense and very marked intelligence. She has rendered services of a remarkable nature without regard to the risks she ran. Courageous in front of the enemy she has shown a completely unexpected military sense and has been an inspiration to her comrades.”
All at Masterframe remember and honour all the courageous men and women that died in the line of duty.
Extract from The Women Who Lived for Danger by Marcus Binney.