SOE agents arrive home in December 1944: (front, from left) Lieut. J.E. Fournier, Lieut. P.E. Thibeault, Capt. H.A. Benoit; (rear) Major P.E. Labelle, Capt. L.J. Taschereau, Capt. Guy Artois, Capt. J.P. Archambault.
Documentary about Canadian agents working for SOE in occupied France.
Apart from Canadian’s being trained in England SOE also had a training and selection establishment in Canada and the newly formed American OSS received their initial training at this SOE training camp in Ontario.
A short film by CBC where former agents describe their time
at Camp X
Clare Mulley tells the extraordinary story of Krystyna Skarbek (aka Christine Granville) – the first, and the longest serving, female special agent working for Britain in the Second World War. Part of the Lunchtime Lectures series – a programme of free talks that takes place at the National Army Museum in London.
In 2015 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Denmark from German occupation (1940-45), Museum Vestsjaelland hosted an international seminar on 2nd May 2015 attended by historians, WWII veterans, descendants of allied airmen, descendants of Danish resistance fighters, and members of the public. The four key lectures are available here on the Museum Vestsjaelland’s Youtube channel. Historian and SOE specialist Mark Seaman describes the establishment and organisation of the British Special Operations Executive (SOE) and the Danish resistance movement.
On 20 February 1944 a B-17 bomber (Flying Fortress) which the
crew called ‘Mi Amigo’ was part of the 305th Bombardment Group, US 8th
Army Airforce based at Chelveston Airfield in Northamptonshire and ‘Mi Amigo’
was one of 700 American B-17 bombers involved in Operation Argument.
Operation Argument was an intensive one-week joint operation
with RAF bomber command to destroy high value and heavily defended aircraft factories and Luftwaffe
airfields in Alaborg Denmark and Leipzig Germany and the bombers had to run the
gauntlet of extensive anti-aircraft artillery and German fighters.
On 22 February there was heavy fog over the Luftwaffe base
in Alaborg and the target could not be
seen from the air as the B-17’s were being attacked by swarms of German
fighters during which three American aircraft were shot down and most of their crews
were killed or captured. Due to the fog
and continuous waves of German fighters the mission was aborted; the surviving
aircraft began their return to England and once they reached the North Sea, they
started jettisoning their bombs.
Mi Amigo had been extensively damaged and there were concerns one or more of its engines would seize up before reaching England, but the crew managed to dump their 4,000 lb bomb load over the sea.
According to historian Paul Allonby, Mi Amigo was several
miles from its base in England and its engines which had all been damaged were
fading quickly as its pilot Lt Kriegshauser steered his crippled B-17 out of thick
clouds and found they were over a major city in Sheffield. As he looked for a suitable field for a crash landing,
he could only see houses, roads and trees and then in the distance he saw a large
field called Encliffee Park which was a public play area with thick woods
Lt Kriegshauser prepared his crew for a crash landing and
started his final approach when he suddenly saw a large group of children playing in the field
and immediately aborted the landing in the full knowledge his aircraft would crash
into the woods.
After crashing the wreckage of the B-17 was scattered across
the hillside, the aircraft was split into two and the front section was on fire
and the crew were dead.
Several eyewitnesses say the aircraft circled the park for
some time and it is believed the pilot sacrificed the lives of himself and his
crew to avoid a group of children in the field.
Lt Kriegshauser was posthumously awarded the US Distinguished
During the crash a large number of trees had been destroyed
and in 1969 a grove of American Oakes was planted to honour the crew of Mi
Amigo. There is also a memorial to the crew in the park and Tony Foulds who was
one of the children in the park at the time of the crash continues to personally
tend the memorial.
On 22 February 2019 after a long campaign by Tony Foulds, who is now 82 years old, British and American military aircraft took part in a flypast over Endcliffee Park in Sheffield to mark the 75th anniversary of the American crew of the bomber Mi Amigo.