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.
John Williamson continues the story of the secret RAF Special Duties Squadron based at Tempsford during WW2
RAF No. 138 Special Duties Squadron
138 Special Duties Squadron was responsible for dropping
agents, weapons, sabotage equipment and other stores by parachute inside occupied
Europe and flew as far as Poland and
Yugoslavia from RAF Tempsford. There was also a detachment serving the Middle East.
Missions By Moonlight No. 161 Special Duties Squadron
Hugh Verity was a night fighter pilot during WWII until 1942
when he volunteered for RAF special duties and became involved in one of the
most extraordinary and effective operations of the secret war. Flying a
single-engine Lysander aircraft he was landing in German occupied France delivering
and collecting SOE and SIS agents. With
only the light of the moon to recognise landmarks whilst navigating hostile
terrain 161 squadron had carefully selected pilots with highly developed flying
and navigation skills.
The Barn Tempsford Airfield 2014
The barn where agents were fitted with parachutes and issued with equipment. From this barn agents who could not face the possibility of prolonged torture were given an opportunity to take with them the ‘L Pill’ (lethal) containing cyanide. During their training they were informed the ‘L Pill’ would kill them within five seconds.
The following description was written by the History Room.
This film gives some insight into the work of the British Political Warfare Executive run by Sefton Delmer. It is perhaps more suitable for whimsical entertainment than serious study, but it is still revealing and informative, casting some light on the murky underworld of the secret services. Note to teachers: the film contains some brief nudity. Uploaded for educational purposes only.
A talk by Rick Stroud on Wednesday 11 April 2018 in The Kincaid Gallery, The Royal Green Jackets (Rifles) Museum. (see link at bottom of page)
“The French Resistance began almost as soon as France surrendered to Germany. At first it was small, disorganised groups of men and women working in isolation but by 1944 around 400,000 French citizens (nearly 2% of the population) were involved. The Special Operations Executive (SOE) set up in 1941 saw its role in France as recruiting and organising guerrilla fighters; supplying and training them; and disrupting the Germans by any means, including sabotage, collection of intelligence and dissemination of black propaganda.
Infiltrated into France and operating in Resistance circuits
the basic SOE unit was a team of three: a leader, a wireless operator and a
courier, many of them women. This is the
story of those women, their selection, training, dropping into occupied France
and their attempts to survive on a daily basis whilst being hunted by the
Gestapo. Some survived by luck through
the war, whilst others were captured, tortured and executed before the Nazis
Rick Stroud is a writer and television director who has directed such actors as Pierce Brosnan, John Hurt,and Joanna Lumley. He is the author of several books including Rifleman, the story of Vic Gregg, ex 2RB. He is currently working on a book about the kidnapping by the SOE of General Kreipe from his headquarters on Nazi occupied Crete.”(Ricard Shroud April 2018)
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As this is an American documentary most of the archive footage is American
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