By Institute for Career Research

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Then at Beaulieu, in the New Forest, where the agents at last began to learn the craft of clandestinity—using cutouts (innocent intermediaries), boîtes-aux-lettres (“letterboxes,” places where messages could safely be left), and basic Morse code—the reality of their likely missions became clearer. Though she rarely visited the training schools, Vera received regular reports from instructors as the agents progressed, and she became quite used to sceptical, if not downright damning, comments that came back to her about the women she was responsible for.

How? ” One former staff officer, though, had caught a unique glimpse of Vera in her very earliest days. He had met her at a bridge party at exactly the time she joined SOE. “Now let's see,” said Peter Lee, reading through his diary for 1941. “When was it exactly? The tenth of March. Ha! ‘Played bridge—Blitz—Boodles hit—windows out of Brooks—shaking like a jelly' I think it was round about then. ” Elizabeth, he explained, was the SOE secretary assigned to Room 055a, where SOE candidates were first interviewed.

Twenty-nine-year-old Nora had a most unusual background. Her father, Hasra Inayat Khan, was descended from the “Tiger of Mysore,” the last Mogul emperor of southern India, which meant Nora was by lineage a princess. Her father had also been a mystic teacher and philosopher who travelled the world spreading the word of Sufism, often taking his family with him. Nora was born in the Kremlin in 1914 as her father happened to be teaching at the Conservatoire in Moscow at the time. Nora's mother, Ora Ray Baker, was a relative of Mrs.

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