Skip to main content
Loading Events
Fort Nelson

Women of the SOE: Sabotage and subversion

Kate Vigurs
20th November - 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

Book now

Revealing the extraordinary missions of female agents in occupied Europe.

Speaker: Dr Kate Vigurs, freelance historian and author

Chosen to work in a secretive, clandestine and mainly male domain, the women of the Special Operations Executive, French section (SOE F) were remarkable women. Ranging from house wives to grandmothers, shop assistants to princesses, thirty nine women passed through a rigorous training programme. They were taught: silent killing, instinctive shooting and sabotage as well as survival tactics for life in Nazi Occupied France. They were infiltrated behind enemy lines to work as couriers and wireless operators,
operating undercover and beyond the protection of the Geneva Convention.

Life expectancy was short, sometimes a mere six weeks, but these women worked and fought hard – often living in solitude with no friends or company; travelling hundreds of kilometres carrying vital yet incriminating information; receiving arms or vital supplies and risking everything to make contact with SOE HQ over the radio waves.

This talk will examine how these women were selected and what training they received. Drawing on archive material and interviews Dr Vigurs will evaluate the operational lives of several agents, assessing their roles and suitability for such intricate work, and in some cases, detailing their fate at the hand of the enemy.


£5 (includes light refreshments)

Future Fort Talks

Wednesday 11 December
Shoreham Fort: A history
Speaker: Gary Baines

Wednesday 22 January
The edged weapons of Waterloo
Speaker: Henry Yallop

Wednesday 26 February
Isambard Kingdon Brunel
Speaker: Graham Walters

Wednesday 18 March
The Dardanelles Strait
Speaker: Michael Forrest