The Princess Spy:
Noor-un-nisa Inayat Khan

Noor's mission in France

A.  The Prosper Network

The SOE inserted Noor into France on the night 16/17 June 1943.  She flew into the occupied territory abroad a Lysander plane.  Noor was supposed to be greeted by a landing party.  The landing party did not show up for the plane, but Noor knew her first instructions.  She was to join the 'Prosper' circuit in Paris as a wireless radio operator by linking up with her first contacts.  Luckily, Noor made it safely to her first contacts.  These contacts included Lt. Emile Garry and his fiancee.  Noor thought she was meeting an old lady on an one on one basis.  Lt. Garry's fiancee was fairly young and Lt. Garry was present.  Noor was not quite certain she was in the right place.  Passwords were finally exchanged, and Noor was gladly accepted into the group, but it was a nervous way to begin her work.  

The next day, Lt. Garry escorted Noor to Professor Alfred Serge Balachowsky.  Noor was to stay with the Professor and his wife until Noor could find a place of her own.  Staying with the Balachowskys was a stroke of good luck which helped prevent an early capture of Noor by the Gestapo.  This is because t
he timing of her insertion into Prosper was dreadful; less than a week after she arrived, the Germans arrested almost all of the major agents of the circuit including Major Francis Suttill, the agent codenamed Prosper.

Francis Suttill, aka 'Prosper'

Because Noor was staying with Balachowskys, she escaped and began broadcasting to London the sad news of the destruction of the circuit.  She used the code name 'Madeleine' and her radio operation became the 'Poste Madeleine.'  At the time, she believed she was the only wireless radio operator in Paris.  That was not quite true, but Noor believed it.  One other Paris wireless operator evaded the Germans, and he also sent confirmation of the German raids back to England.    

After the destruction of most of the 'Prosper' circuit, Noor then began working for the remaining fragments of the network.  Most notably she was the wireless transmitter for the 'Cinema' and 'Phono' circuits.  She also operated a mail drop for what was left of the Prosper network.  She found a room within a building used to house German soldiers.  She used this room because the room had access to a window and there was a tree nearby outside the window.  There was a story about Noor enlisting the help of a German soldier to help her install her antenna in the tree.  The soldier complied with her request thinking he was helping her string up her clothesline for her laundry.  Whether the story was truthful or not really does not matter.  Noor was constantly surrounded by the Germans and constantly needed to think fast to evade capture.   

B.  Making Mistakes

Noor continued to make mistakes throughout her operational phrase.  She made three glaring errors during the time before her arrest.

Noor's first mistake was that she was occasionally careless with her codebooks and other espionage equipment.  She would accidentally leave this equipment out where anyone could see it.
 This was extremely dangerous simply because the Germans paid well for information which led to the capture of any British agent.  This first happened only a couple days after Noor arrived in France.  She left her codebook out, and Professor Balachowsky found it.  Luckily, the Professor was part of the resistance movement and simply returned the code book to Noor.  Of course, he was fairly upset because if the Germans captured Noor's codebook, then he would be in danger of arrest.  He made his displeasure known to Noor.    

Her second glaring error occurred with her documentation of messages she sent to London.  She would write down everything both in clear format and in coded format.  The problem with this documention was that once she was captured by the Germans, then the Germans would be able to decode all sorts of messages.  The documentation would give the code away.  This was what eventually happened.  Not only did the Germans break the code, they began to use Noor's radio against the British by posing as Noor and sending messages for more men to be sent into France.  Of course, these additional agents were quickly captured by the Germans.

Noor can hardly be blamed for the third mistake.  The British placed Noor within a few miles of her childhood home at Fazal Manzil in the Surenses.  It was understandable then when she returned to this area many times during the war, despite the fact that most people knew her and many were willing to betray her for a price.  Many of her neighbors were willing to hide her, but not to help her in other ways.  She walked very dangerous grounds when she visited the Surenes.  In the end, Noor's betrayal came not from a childhood acquaintance, but rather the sister of a fellow agent.  Still, the visits to Fazal Manzil and the Surenes were dangerous.

C.  Betrayal:  Noor is sold into captivity for a measly 500 pounds

It was commonly believed Noor was betrayed by the sister of a fellow British agent.  A lady named Renee Garry was tried after the war on the charge of betraying Noor to the Germans.  She was barely acquitted of the charge by receiving not guilty decisions from five of the nine judges listening to the case.  Renee Garry was the sister of Lieutenant Emile Henri Garry, the head agent of the 'Cinema' and 'Phono' circuits.  Noor worked as the wireless operator for both circuits and would occasionally stay at Garry's house.  Emile Henri Garry was later arrested himself and executed at Buchenwald during September 1944.

The story of the betrayal begins with a lady codenamed 'Renee' approaching the German officer Hans Kieffer about a possible deal.  Kieffer sent an officer named Ernst Vogt, using the codename 'Andre', to meet 'Renee.'  Jean Overton Fuller, Noor's biographer, tried to keep Vogt's identity hidden for some time by simply calling him 'Ernest' and therefore Vogt will be referred to as 'Ernest' here.  At the meeting between Ernest and Renee, Ernest learned Renee would expose a British radio operator if the Germans were willing to pay her 100,000 francs or about 500 pounds at the time.  Ernest quickly agreed--he would have paid more.  Renee was paid half before the arrest.  She then showed Ernest where Noor kept her wireless transmitter and other equipment.  The opportunity for arrest came a couple of days later.  Renee knew Noor would be returning to the Garry's residence, and that the Garry's would not be home.  Ernest took a Frenchman named Pierre Cartaud, or Peter as he preferred to be called, to the house of the Garrys.  Peter hid until Noor arrived, and then he surprised her by attempting to arrest her.  She fought bravely including biting him severely.  Peter finally produced a revolver and forced Noor to stay some distance away from him yet maintaining her as a prisoner.  Then he called for assistance.  Ernest came to help arrest Noor.  He found a scared Peter holding the revolver in one corner of a room and Noor sitting on a couch
on the other side ready to pounce on her captors.  Peter called Noor a 'tigress.'  She was taken to the prison cells located on the fifth floor of 84 Avenue Foch in Paris.  

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