Sunday, September 28, 2014

NOREEN RIOLS - OUR VERY OWN SPECIAL AGENT

As the history person for the  Society of Women Writers & Journalists, I love reading about my colleagues, past and present who make national news. As the Society has been in the business of writing for over 120 years, there are literally hundreds of famous journalists, novelists, poets and people connected with the literary scene who have made the headlines. Last week, the Daily Mail ran a story about one of our favourite overseas members, NOREEN RIOLS who, although living in France, manages to come to London for some of our major gatherings and special events.
Sylvia, Noreen,  Lynda Lee-Potter, Jennie Lisney  2001

Noreen's exciting  life as an 'agente provacatrice' employed by Winston Churchill's Special Operations Executive (SOE), kicked off in 1943 when, as an 18-year-old, she became part of World War II's spy testing team. The beautiful Noreen began work at the SOE's F-Section (F for France) - working as a bilingual secretary, helping prepare messages to be broadcast to France each evening by the BBC.  Her adventures and the people she met whilst spying for Britain are included in her book Katharine - Love and Drama in War-torn Britain and she has written many other titles which have brought her tremendous literary acclaim. 


Noreen's personal involvement with SOE remained a secret until the official files were opened in Millennium year and now she is sole survivor of just six women who worked at HQ with the celebrated Colonel Maurice Buckmaster.  


I am hoping she will attend our Society's 120th anniversary service to be held at St Bride's Church, Fleet Street, followed by our rather special luncheon at Stationers' Hall, just along the road from the church.   Date: Tuesday 14 October. Watch this space!

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