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Newham Bookshop events at The Wanstead Tap, Spring 2024
  • Thursday 7 Mar at 7.30 pm

    Jon Cruddas
    A Century of Labour

  • Saturday 9 Mar at 7.30 pm

    Michael Rosen
    Going Through It

  • Tuesday 12 Mar at 7.30 pm

    Mary McGlory & Sylvia Saunders: The Liverbirds

  • Thursday 14 Mar at 7.30 pm

    Lynne Jones: Sorry for the Inconvenience…

  • Wednesday 20 March at 7.30 pm

    Ladies Who London LIVE!
    with Leo Hollis: Inheritance

  • Thursday 18 April at 7.30 pm

    Sarah Wise
    The Undesirables

  • Thursday 25 April at 7.30 pm

    Andrew Whitehead
    A Devilish Kind Of Courage




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Newham Bookshop, Pete Fallan, March 2021.


Order a copy of Mission France
Please select:
Mission France by Kate Vigurs
Mission France is published by Yale University Press in paperback at £10.99.

Kate Vigurs

Mission France

The True History of the Women of SOE

The full story of the thirty-nine female SOE agents who went undercover in France.

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. But while some are widely known-Violette Szabo, Odette Sansom, Noor Inayat Khan-others have had their stories largely overlooked.

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. Some agents were more adept at parachuting.

Some agents’ missions lasted for years, others’ less than a few hours. Some survived, others were murdered. 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.

“The freshness and honesty of Mission France make it an ideal book for taking a new look at the secret war, at a time when knowledge of these brave women’s exploits is fading from living memory.” — Vin Arthey, The Scotsman.

Kate Vigurs will be in conversation with Helen Fry and Michael Newman.