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Colvin, Dame Mary Katherine Rosamund (1907–1988), army officer, was born on 25 October 1907 at Morleys, Shermanbury, Steyning, Sussex, the daughter of Lieutenant-Colonel (John) Forrester Farnell Colvin of the 9th Queen's Royal Lancers and his wife, Isabella Katherine McClintock Bunbury. Almost nothing is recorded of her early years except that she had the opportunity to travel widely in ...

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Dame (Mary) Frances Coulshed (1904–1998) by Walter Stoneman, 1957 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Coulshed, Dame (Mary) Frances (1904–1998), army officer, was born at 49 Lynmouth Road, Ecclesall, Sheffield, on 10 November 1904, the daughter of Wilfred Coulshed, a chemist who died when she was six years old, and his wife, Maude Mullin, a teacher. She was educated at ...

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D’Artois [née Butt], Sonia Esmée Florence [Toni] (1924–2014), Special Operations Executive agent, was born Sonia Juliet Esme Butt at Charnwood, Eastchurch, on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent, on 14 May 1924, the third child and younger daughter of Leslie Acton Kingsford Butt...

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Davies [née Cavenaugh], Christian [Catherine] [alias Christopher or Richard Welsh; called Mother Ross] (1667–1739), female soldier, was, according to The Life and Adventures of Mrs. Christian Davies (1740), born Christian Cavenaugh in Dublin. She was raised by her parents on a farm at ...

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Mary Baxter Ellis (1892–1968) by Bassano, c. 1939 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Ellis, Mary Baxter (1892–1968), commanding officer of the FANY, was born on 12 November 1892 at North Ashfield, Newcastle upon Tyne, the elder daughter in the family of four children of Joseph Baxter Ellis, grocer and miller, and his second wife, Mary Sharp Taylor...

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Field [née Hodgson], Anne (1926–2011), army officer, was born on 4 April 1926 at 34 Stanger Street, Keswick, Cumberland, the daughter of Harold Derwent Hodgson (1884–1964), a former captain in the Royal Engineers who eventually ran the family building company, Isaac and Robin Hodgson Ltd...

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Anne Field (1926–2011) by unknown photographer, © Crown copyright in photograph: UK Government Art Collection

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Franklin, Lilian Annie Margueretta (1882–1955), commanding officer of the FANY, was the only daughter (there was also one son) of William Franklin (1852–1920) of Horsham, Sussex, a wholesale merchant, and his wife, Louisa (1845–1923). The family lived for a number of years at ...

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Gamwell, (Antonia) Marian (1891–1977), volunteer ambulance driver and commanding officer of the FANY, was born on 28 July 1891 at 169 Knight's Hill Road, West Norwood, the eldest daughter of Frederick Robison Gamwell (1835–1901), an East India merchant, and his wife, Marian Antonia Bankart (1864–1922)...

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Gizycka, Countess Krystyna [née Countess Krystyna Skarbeka; alias Christine Granville] (1915–1952), special operations officer, was born on 1 May 1915, probably at Mlodziesyn, some 30 miles from Warsaw, Poland. Her father, Count Jerzy Skarbek, had married in 1899 Stephanie Goldfeder, daughter of a Jewish banker, and they already had a son. The estate was soon overrun by the German army, and her infancy was spent under German occupation. In 1920 the family moved to another estate, at ...

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Hallowes [née Brailly], Odette Marie Céline (1912–1995), special operations officer and member of the FANY, was born on 28 April 1912 in Amiens, northern France, the only daughter in the family of three children of Gaston Brailly (c.1880–1918), banker, and his wife, ...

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Odette Marie Céline Hallowes (1912–1995) by unknown photographer The Imperial War Museum, London

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Heaney, Sheila Anne Elizabeth (1917–1991), army officer, was born on 11 June 1917 at 5 Canning Street, Liverpool, the second of the four children of Francis James Strong Heaney (1874–1950), a consultant general surgeon who specialized in the use of radium, and his wife, ...

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Hessel [née Smith], Phoebe (1713–1821), female soldier and centenarian, was probably born in Stepney, London. Her father was a 'drummer in the king's service' (Circulator, 147), but further details of her parents and upbringing are unknown. A tombstone in St Nicholas's churchyard, Brighton...

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Horniblow [married name Dalton], (Emilie) Hilda (1886–1950), chief controller of Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps and educationist, was born at Sheep Street, Charlbury, Oxfordshire, on 24 June 1886, the daughter of Frederick Thomas Horniblow, stationer, and his wife, Sarah Ellen, née McCulloch...

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Jackson, Margaret Wallace (1917–2013), Special Operations Executive secretary and civil servant, was born on 15 January 1917 at 18 Marlborough Place, St John's Wood, London, the second of the four daughters of Thomas Frame (Tom) Jackson (1886–1934), manager of the Atlas Light and Power Company...

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Noor-un-Nisa Inayat Khan (1914–1944) by unknown photographer © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Khan, Noor-un-Nisa Inayat (1914–1944), special operations officer, was born on 2 January 1914 in Moscow, the eldest of four children of Hazrat Inayat Khan (1882–1927), a Sufi religious teacher and musician, and his wife, Ora Ray Baker (1890–1949). Her father was descended from the last Mughal ...