This short history of SOE is clearly aimed at people who don’t already know about the organisation. We start with a background history of the organisation, how it was organised and the famous training regime. The text is split roughly 50/50 between the section on the formation, organisation and training systems of SOE and its operations. The background chapters cover their subjects nicely, with
We get some of the very familiar topics, as you’d expect in a shorter history of the SOE. However even in the limited space available here I found some snippets I hadn’t come across before – different agents and different missions. The chapter on Women in SOE benefits from not just focusing on the famous agents, but also on the crucial staff back in Britain, including the many home based radio operators waiting for the messages from occupied Europe, and the famous Fifi, whose role was to try and trick trainee agents into revealing their secrets.
This book is a good introduction to SOE, with enough information to give the new reader a good idea of the reasons behind its formation, how it was organised, the nature of the famous training regime and the sort of operations that the organisation carried out. There are some topics that really have to be in any book on SOE – the famous female agents, the disaster in the Low Countries etc, but it’s nice to see some less familiar operations brought into the text as well.
Set Europe Ablaze
Lessons in Ungentlemanly Warfare
SOE in the Balkans
The England Game
SOE in France
Women in SOE
Author: Terry Crowdy