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Tribute to Andrée Borrell & Lise de Baissac: SOE F Section's first women agents to parachute

On May 5th a large gathering assembled in Le Bois du Paradis, between the small French communities of Crouy-sur-Cosson and Saint-Laurent-Nouan (Loir-et-Cher département) to commemorate the first women agents of SOE's French Section to parachute into occupied France almost 75 years ago.

The field where the event took place had, on 24 September 1942, been the DZ of the agents Andrée Borrell and Lise de Baissac.

A service of remembrance and thanksgiving was led by the Chaplain of the FANYs supported by fifty active members of this volunteer Corps. Led by their then commanding officer, Commandant Kim McCutcheon, they'd travelled especially by coach from Britain, together with veterans' family members and friends, to be welcomed by the local communities.

This special event was instigated and organised by Colonel (ret’d) Nick Fox OBE on behalf of our France-based partner organisation Libre Résistance. Nick and Paul McCue, a Trustee of The Secret WW2 Learning Network, presented a unique specially-framed souvenir gift to each of the two local mayors (M. Claudette Sorin for Crouy-sur-Cosson and M. Claude Guilleray for Saint-Laurent-Nouan) which included a copy of the RAF’s report of the women agents' drop (OPERATION WHITEBEAM/ARTIST/MONKEYPUZZLE 1) together with information on this operation and archive photographs.

Secret WW2 was also represented by its Chair, Louisa Russell, volunteer Meryl Jones and supporter Ray Windmill with his guest, and they were accompanied by additional members of the Special Forces Club.

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