Unearthing Churchill’s Secret Army, The Offical List of SOE Casualties and Their Stories

B1786

The author has told the stories of a group of these very brave individuals from released records and subsequent research. The covert nature of SOE will appeal to readers who may not consider themselves either war enthusiasts or historians but are interested in mystery and suspense. This is the story of a very dangerous war and an often very lonely war where betrayal and discovery were threats never far away.

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NAME: Unearthing Churchill’s Secret Army, The Offical List of SOE Casualties and Their Stories
CLASSIFICATION: Book Reviews
FILE: R1786
DATE: 201112
AUTHOR: E W Maslen-Jones
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
BINDING: hard back
PAGES: 268
PRICE: £25.00
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: SOE, secret agents, resistance, WWII, Second World War, World War Two, Europe, France, Belgium, special operations
ISBN: 1-84884-794-7
IMAGE: B1786.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/d3xku4t
LINKS:
DESCRIPTION: The full story of the secret war will probably never be told, at least not for many decades, and even then there will be some gaps by the very nature of the operations that were conducted. The release in 2003 of the first batch of SOE personnel files by the national archives opened new opportunities for historians and the process of opening more files continues.
SOE was one of Churchill’s Secret Armies. There were others and some of these did not have the level of central coordination that SOE eventually achieved. In the early days, many organizations were very informally established, or individuals were assigned to a special mission from a formal military organization. These ad hoc operations often developed their own niche and either faded away or became a long-established service such as the SAS and the SBS. SOE had a very unique role, part of which it formed by itself rather than being deliberately established and directed. It did overlap with a number of other intelligence and special forces groups. It made considerable use of women, mainly as couriers and radio operators. Many of its people were transferred from military organizations or from military escapers from occupied countries, but it also included academics, adventurers, criminals and those with very specialist skills.
The losses of agents were severe. Those who were lucky enough to die in gunfights may have accounted for forty percent of the fatalities, but many were captured, suffered brutal torture, and either died under interrogation or were killed in prison or in a concentration camp. Many of those who died were never found, their bodies cremated by the Germans or buried where they fell in some unmarked location. There were also many fatal casualties in training or parachuting and some took poison to avoid being taken alive.
The author has told the stories of a group of these very brave individuals from released records and subsequent research. The covert nature of SOE will appeal to readers who may not consider themselves either war enthusiasts or historians but are interested in mystery and suspense. This is the story of a very dangerous war and an often very lonely war where betrayal and discovery were threats never far away.

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