A Spotlight On: The Women of the Special Operations Executive (F Section) and Ravensbrück Camp

In the closing years of the Second World War seven women, who had been infiltrated by Special Operations Executive (SOE) behind enemy lines in Nazi Occupied France, were caught. Dr Kate Vigurs tells the story of their recruitment, training, work and eventual fate.

Arrested, interrogated, imprisoned and eventually incarcerated in Ravensbrück concentration camp, it was the Nazi’s intention that Violette Szabo, Odette Sansom, Lilian Rolfe, Denise Bloch, Cecily Lefort, Yvonne Baseden and Eileen Nearne would disappear without trace. Unprotected by the Geneva Convention and beyond Allied help the lives of seven women hung in the balance. They had risked their lives working as couriers and wireless operators, aiding the local resistance in preparation for the allied invasion and paving the way for allied victory.

Dr Kate Vigurs is a professional freelance historian whose PhD at the University of Leeds was entitled ‘The women agents of the Special Operations Executive F section – wartime realities and post war representations’. Her extensive research included interviewing agents, historians, actresses and script writers, as well as visiting France several times and undertaking an extensive tour of memorials to the women of F section including Ravensbrück and Natzweiler-Struthof concentration camps. Kate also regularly appears on TV and radio, and has recently filmed a documentary for the Yesterday channel which will transmit later this year.


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