Casualty of WWII, Jack served with the Royal Air Force, attached to Special Operations Executive-Service No: 71106.
He was a British espionage agent who worked for the Special Operations Executive (SOE) inside France. He was captured and killed by the Nazis when he sought to confirm the status of a resistance cell that the Nazis had compromised.
He was born in London to an Armenian father, Berdge Rupen Agazarian, and French mother, Jacqueline Marie-Louise Le Chevalier Agazarian, the second of six children. He was educated in both France and England at Dulwich College. After completing his education he worked with his father in the family business.
After joining the Royal Air Force at the outbreak of World War II, he was recruited as a wireless operator by the SOE. His younger brother, Flying Officer Noel le Chevalier Agazarian, also joined the Royal Air Force as a Spitfire pilot; he went on to be a flying ace in the Battle of Britain before being killed in action on 16 May 1941.
In December 1942 Jack arrived in Paris to join the newly formed Prosper network of the SOE and was joined later by his wife Francine. He occasionally worked for Henri Dericourt,a former French Air Force pilot whose job was to find landing grounds and arrange receptions for SOE agents arriving by air. At this time he began to question Dericourt's loyalty and reported to London his own and other agents' suspicions.
Agazarian became known to the Gestapo, and on several occasions he narrowly escaped arrest.
SOE Circuit leader Major Francis Alfred Suttill considered Agazarian's continued presence to be a security risk. On 16 June 1943 Agazarian was returned to England where he reiterated his concerns about Dericourt's loyalty to Nicholas Bodington and Colonel Maurice James Buckmaster, who were nevertheless unconvinced. However, when agent Noor Inayat Khan lost contact with the Prosper group, headquarters became increasingly concerned. Leo Marks,[Leopold Samuel Marks] the SOE's head of codes and ciphers, became convinced that Gilbert Norman, the group's wireless operator, was transmitting under German control.
Agazarian joined Bodington (who was still sceptical) in a mission to France to determine the status of the Prosper network, departing 22 July 1943. Bodington, working through headquarters, arranged a meeting with Gilbert Norman at a pre-arranged address in the rue de Rome near Gare St-Lazare, but it was Agazarian, not Bodington who went to the meeting.
The concerns about the Prosper network proved well-founded. German forces had indeed compromised the network, and Agazarian was taken prisoner at the meeting. Three members of the network, courier Andrée Borrel, leader Francis Suttill and wireless operator Gilbert Norman, had been in custody since 23 June, and Norman's transmissions had indeed been made by the Germans. Henri Dericourt's role in the loss of the Prosper network remains unclear; after the war he was tried as a double agent, but acquitted for lack of evidence. In fact he was a triple agent working for Secret Intelligence Service and that the SOE agents had been sacrificed to distract German attentions from landings in Sicily and Normandy.
The arrest of Agazarian, who knew a great deal about the Prosper network, was a massive coup for the Germans. He endured torture for six months at Fresnes prison and was then moved to Flossenbürg concentration camp. After being kept there in solitary confinement, he was executed.
Jack is honoured on the Runnymede Memorial in Surrey, England,[the official Point of Commemoration], on the SOE memorial at Flossenbürg and also on the Roll of Honour on the Valençay SOE Memorial in Valençay, in the Indre département of France.
Years of service 1942-1945
Rank Field agent and guerrilla commander
Noël le Chevalier Agazarian (26 December 1916 – 16 May 1941) was a British World War II fighter ace with seven victories. He was the brother of Special Operations Executive agent Jack Agazarian, who was executed by the Germans in 1945, and Monique Agazarian, pilot, author and businesswoman.
Born 26 December 1916
Died 16 May 1941 (aged 24)
Buried at Knightsbridge War Cemetery, Acroma
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch Royal Air Force
Years of service 1939–1941
Rank Flying Officer
Unit No. 609 Squadron RAF No. 274 Squadron RAF
Noël Agazarian's father was Berge Agazarian (died 1944), an Armenian who arrived in the United Kingdom in 1911 as a teenager with little money. However he eventually prospered, owning a successful electrical engineering company. He married Frenchwoman Jacqueline Marie-Louise le Chevalier. They had six children, four boys (three of whom would later join the Royal Air Force) and two girls, one of whom, Monique Agazarian, would later serve as a pilot in the Air Transport Auxiliary. The four siblings' interest in aviation may have been sparked by their father, who bought a World War I surplus Sopwith Pup fighter and parked it in the garden of the family house for use as a plaything by his children.
Noël Agazarian was schooled at Dulwich College, where he was a member of the first XV Rugby union team, captained both the swimming and boxing teams and was awarded the Victor Ludorum for sporting achievement. He then went on to Wadham College, Oxford in 1935. An earlier application to Trinity College, Oxford was rejected, allegedly because the Trinity College President objected to Agazarian's ethnicity.[Note 1] At Oxford, Agazarian began his flying career with the Oxford University Air Squadron. He achieved a blue in boxing and became friends with Richard Hillary, who became well known some years later for his autobiography The Last Enemy about his time as a fighter pilot.
Noël Agazarian joined the Royal Air Force as a Volunteer Reservist and was commissioned as a Pilot Officer on 14 February 1939. He completed his initial flying training at the same time as Richard Hillary, at RAF Lossiemouth, after which both were assigned to RAF Old Sarum, to train as army co-operation pilots.[Note 3] They flew Westland Lysander liaison aircraft and Hawker Hector biplanes; during the training, Agazarian crashed a Hawker Hector but was unscathed. By the time his course ended (June 1940) France had fallen, the Dunkirk evacuation had taken place and a German invasion of Britain was thought to be imminent. Because of this crisis, Hillary and Agazarian were both amongst the majority of pilots from the graduating Army co-operation class who were immediately re-assigned as fighter pilots, something that pleased Agazarian immensely.
After a few weeks of fighter training, Agazarian joined 609 Squadron, a fighter squadron flying Supermarine Spitfires, based at RAF Warmwell in Dorset. His first victory was on 11 August 1940 when he shot down a Messerschmitt Bf 110 heavy fighter around 15 miles south of the Isle of Portland. On 12 August, he shot down two Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighters and damaged a Messerschmitt Bf 110 around 5 miles south of Portsmouth. This occurred during a large battle, when a formation of German bombers and their fighter escorts, returning from their bombing of Portsmouth and its dockyards, were intercepted by three RAF fighter squadrons.
Agazarian was promoted from Pilot Officer to Flying Officer on 14 August and continued to fly throughout the Battle of Britain. His last victory with 609 Squadron was on 2 December, when he shared in the destruction of a Dornier Do 17 bomber with Polish pilot Tadeusz Nowierski. By this time he had shot down six aircraft, damaged four and shared in the destruction of three. One of the aircraft he flew during the battle, Supermarine Spitfire number R6915, still exists and is preserved in the Imperial War Museum in London. He twice made forced landings in it because of battle damage, but used it to shoot down a Messerschmitt Bf 109 and a Heinkel He 111 bomber.
In January 1941, Agazarian received a requested transfer to 274 Squadron in North Africa, a fighter squadron equipped with Hawker Hurricanes. On 1 May 1941, he destroyed a Messerschmitt Bf 109 over Tobruk, Libya. However, on 16 May, he was shot down and killed by Fw. Franz Elles in a Messerschmitt Bf 109 of 2./JG 27 near Gambut (Kambut), during the Commonwealth offensive known as Operation Brevity.
AGAZARIAN, NOEL Le CHEVALIER - Find A Grave Memorial# 56595169
Rank: Flying Officer
Service No: 72550
Date of Death: 16/05/1941
Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Knightsbridge War Cemetery
Al Butnan, Libya
Grave Reference: 3. G. 22.
Monique Agazarian, aviatrix and writer; born 17 April 1920; married 1949 Ray Rendall (died 1981; three daughters; marriage dissolved 1973); died London 3 March 1993.
MONIQUE AGAZARIAN was a widely known and much-respected name in civil aviation circles from the time of her introduction to wartime flying in 1943 as a pilot with Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA). In more recent years she distinguished herself by her innovative work on utilising a Gatt flight simulator as a means of expediting ab initio pilot-training as well as by the publication of her very well- received manual on advanced instrument-flying procedures.
Monique Agazarian's father, Berge Agazarian, fled from the persecutions of the day in his native Armenia to land up on a Liverpool dockside in 1911 in his late teens with little more than what he stood up in and a deep sense of relief. Later he met and married Jacqueline Marie-Louise de Chevalier, a young French woman of genteel background and cultural tastes then studying in London. England became their permanent home and in time they produced four boys and two girls, perhaps to emphasise the point.
Family fortunes prospered in Berge's capable hands and a successful family electrical company emerged allowing the family to become comfortably well-off. In those (for some) balmy pre-1939 days Monique completed her convent education and was dispatched to finishing school in Paris.
The outbreak of the Second World War brought the dispersal of the Agazarian boys to the armed forces and Monique, not to be outdone, became a nurse with the Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) stationed at the Royal Air Force establishment at Uxbridge. Three of her brothers had joined the Royal Air Force. One of them, Noel, fought as a Battle of Britain fighter pilot. In 1941 he was shot down and killed serving in North Africa. (The Spitfire he flew in the UK is preserved in the Imperial War Museum, in London.) Jack Agazarian was seconded from the RAF to Special Operations Executive (SOE). After being parachuted into occupied France to assist the French Resistance he was caught, tortured and executed by the Gestapo. Her eldest brother, Levon, flew Thunderbolt fighters from Calcutta.
By persuading Air Transport Auxiliary in 1943 to accept her for ab initio pilot-training Monique Agazarian became one of only 10 young women similarly accepted, thereby realising a childhood dream to fly induced by once having been taken to see Peter Pan. ATA was an organisation mainly composed of over-age, ex-airline captains with a sprinkling of well-qualified women pilots whose task was to ferry replacement aircraft of every type to operational squadrons to relieve the workload on combat pilots.
At her flight medical, a compassionate RAF doctor 'stretched' her height just to match the minimum requirement demanded by the authorities. 'Aggie' could be very persuasive at times. Despite the tragic loss of her two brothers these were heady days for her, and in time she flew every type of front-line fighter then in service; it sparked off a lifelong love affair with the Spitfire, her all-time favourite to fly.
The hazards of wartime flying should be remembered. Apart from the varying reliability of weather reports, completely blacked-out towns and landscape after dark, the necessity of keeping radio silence and the absence of today's sophisticated radio beacons and satellite navigational aids, there was also the ever-present possibility of meeting an enemy aircraft, not to mention simple engine failure.
After the Second World War, Monique Agazarian gained her commercial pilot's licence and embarked on a career in civil aviation starting with piloting for Island Air Services, a small charter company. By 1948 she had become Managing Director of IAS, which was expanding. She married Captain Ray Rendall, a fellow commercial pilot, who took over as MD of IAS while Monique became chairman as well as chief pilot.
Duped by: Jack
Record added: May 27, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 19552289
Francine Isabella Andre Agazarian