The Special Operations Executive (SOE) was an ultra-secret branch of the British military and this public information film released in 1947, one-year after the executive was disbanded, is one of the first public acknowledgements of SOE’s existence during the war.
Every member of the cast were former members of SOE’s French Section, hence the poor acting, and each scene was based on actual events during the war.
Those familiar with this Section will recognise the two main characters: Harry Ree and Jaqueline Nearne whose sister Eileen also served with SOE and escaped from Ravensbruck Concentration camp.
Through a chance encounter I came across 95-year-old John Mellor a veteran of RAF Bomber Command during WW2 who has just self-published his memoirs. John is one of the few who survived the bombing sorties and described himself as “one of the lucky.”
Over 76 years later few who served during WW2 remain alive and I believe John’s recollection of his war service is of major historical importance, and after receiving the following message from John I decided to do whatever I could to promote his war memoir ‘The Boy with one shoe’.
“Thank you, Alan all proceeds go to the RAF Benevolent Fund, but for my sake I want this book to be read so that the sacrifice my friends made will not be forgotten or misunderstood.”
After being acquired by SOE the ‘Mutin’ (Mutineer) was based in the Helford Estuary in Cornwall. Its paintwork was aged and was disguised as a French tuna fishing vessel and the all British crew dressed as Breton fishermen. Part of her refit was a more powerful diesel engine and a wireless using RAF frequencies to support the illusion that transmissions were not from an ocean vessel and its long aerial was built into the rigging. There is an account from a Quartermaster in the Royal Navy who volunteered for clandestine operations without being told what these operations were. This new volunteer later said, on his arrival at the quay he saw Mutin which had just returned from Brittany after dropping off agents: “I saw heaps of sail on the deck covered in blood. Shipwrights were digging shrapnel from bow to stern and I thought, God what have I let myself in for”?… “I was later told, after dropping off agents Mutin was spotted by a German aircraft and raked by cannon fire during which the engineer was killed.
Three-part television documentary describing a series of actions taken by SOE Norwegian saboteurs during World War II to prevent the German nuclear energy project from acquiring heavy water which could be used to produce nuclear weapons.
Film documentary telling the story of the Australian who, after engineering the escape of hundreds of allied servicemen from occupied France during the Second World War – and following her own escape and subsequent training as an S.O.E. agent returned to France by parachute to support the resistance. (Six-part documentary)
Author Douglas Waller discusses “Wild” Bill
Donovan and his role in the OSS and modern American espionage, the subject of
his new book.
Speaker Biography: Douglas Waller, a former veteran correspondent for Newsweek and Time, has reported on the CIA for six years. Waller also covered the Pentagon, the State Department, the White House and Congress. Before reporting for Newsweek and Time, he served eight years as a legislative assistant on the staffs of Rep. Edward Markey and Sen. William Proxmire. He is the author of the best-sellers “The Commandos: The Inside Story of America’s Secret Soldiers,” which chronicled U.S. Special Operations Forces, with a lineage tracing back to the OSS, and “Big Red: The Three-Month Voyage of a Trident Nuclear Submarine.” He is also the author of “A Question of Loyalty: Gen. Billy Mitchell and the Court-Martial that Gripped the Nation,” the critically acclaimed biography of the World War I general.
From the Library of Congress 2011.
The History of the OSS
How the OSS came about and its development into and the Clandestine Service known as the Central Intelligence Agency as told by those who served.