Film made by USAAF showing airfields in England preparing for bombing raid on Germany. Part 2 American fighter escorts (P-47’s and P-38’s) and B17 Flying Fortresses’s battling German fighters and flying through heavy air defences.
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.”
More information can be found at:
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 typical French tuner fishing boat. The all British crew who dressed as Breton fishermen were responsible for landing agents, arms and sabotage stores under the cover of darkness to remote coastal areas of southern France. The crew has been described as “rough, buccaneer types of men”.
More details in my forthcoming book SOE in France
In this short interview Mary Lindell describes her escaped from the Gestapo.
Yvonne Baseden who shared a cell with Mary Lindell
An excellent talk by Dr. A Roberts at the US War College in 2012.
This newsreel filmed by the crews features low-level flying at its best.
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.
Canadian historian Norm Christie presents this television documentary examining SOE in occupied Europe during WW2.
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.