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Amazing life of black war hero recognised

11 Jan 2008

The incredible story of a black Briton who was murdered by the Gestapo in 1943 is being recognised thanks to the efforts of a group of Manchester school children.

The 28 youngsters from Chorlton C of E Primary School - wrote a biography of Noor Inayat Khan after getting together with The University of Manchester' s Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Education Trust, which creates multicultural books for children.

It is launched on Tuesday(15 Jan) at the prestigious Imperial War Museum North.

Noor served as an Special Operations Executive agent with the Paris Resistance in 1943 but was captured by the Gestapo to be executed in Dachau concentration camp a year later.

She had tried and failed to escape from the Nazis three times, was the first women wireless operator in France and showed incredible bravery, uttering the word ' liberty' before she was shot.

Though Noor was posthumously awarded the French Croix de Guerre in 1946 and the British George Cross in 1949 - her achievements are little known in Britain.

The book tells the story of Noor' s life with illustrations, interesting facts and a timeline - all the work of the former year six pupils.

Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre and Trust were founded following the murder of Ahmed Iqbal Ullah in a Manchester school playground in 1986.

Teacher Jackie Ould, from the Trust, who worked with the children said: " Liberté: The Life of Noor Inayat Khan fills a yawning gap in our knowledge of black British heroes.

"The children have really added to our appreciation of Noor by creating diary entries, letters and dialogue as if they were written by her.

"They were really engaged and enthusiastic about the book, producing some really outstanding writing and illustrations.

"It is the result of a whole class effort and I am grateful to the children - it was a pleasure to work with them as it was to work with their class teacher Katie Mercer.

"The Imperial War Museum is a very prestigious venue and we are glad they have agreed to host the launch event on 15 Jan.

" The children, will be there along with their parents and staff from the school and the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Education Trust."

Quotes from the children who worked on the book include:
Georgia O: " I think that Noor Inayat Khan is a hero because she fought for herself and others and wouldn't give up and go home even though she knew she would probably die.

Sahar: " I though that Noor was a brave human being because she was an amazing spy in World War Two and she even wrote an inspirational and brilliant book. She looked after her family when her father died and her mum was depressed and Noor had to look after her brothers and sisters.

Ray Ray: " I think that Noor is a hero because she got tortured and she did not tell on her country and she died with los of dignity.

Lewis: "She risked her life to save others and supported Britain."

Notes for editors

Images and illustrations are available

Jackie Ould is available for comment

Launch event is at the Imperial War Museum North, The Quays, Trafford Wharf, M17 1TZ Tuesday January 15 from 6.15 to 7.30pm.

"Liberté: The Life of Noor Inayat Khan" is published by the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Education Trust at The University of Manchester. For free copies, contact the Trust on 0161 275 2920.

The Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Education Trust at The University of Manchester is funded by Manchester City Council and The University of Manchester. Visit the Trust' s website at http://www.racearchive.org.uk/

For media enquiries contact:
Mike Addelman
Media Relations Officer
Faculty of Humanities
The University of Manchester
0161 275 0790
07717 881 567
michael.addelman@manchester.ac.uk