Kate Vigurs on the true history of the women of SOE

In this talk first delivered in March 2021, historian Kate Vigurs explores the lives and experiences of the women agents of SOE in WW2 France

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Formed in 1940, Special Operations Executive was to coordinate Resistance work overseas. The organization’s F section sent more than four hundred agents into France, thirty-nine of whom were women. Kate Vigurs interweaves for the first time the stories of all thirty-nine female agents. Tracing their journeys from early recruitment to work undertaken in the field, to evasion from, or capture by, the Gestapo, Vigurs shows just how greatly missions varied. By placing the women in the context of their work with the SOE and the wider war, this history reveals the true extent of the differences in their abilities and attitudes while underlining how they nonetheless shared a common mission and, ultimately, deserve recognition.


Kate Vigurs is a freelance historian, academic advisor, and researcher. Her postdoctoral research was used for the BBC World War One at Home series. Kate makes regular appearances on television and radio. She is the author of Mission France: The True Story of the History of the SOE, published by Yale University Press