24 Land - SOE in Portugal

Discussion in 'SOE & OSS' started by Jedburgh22, Mar 6, 2011.

  1. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    In WWII the Iberian Peninsula was one of the hotbeds of espionage with both the Allies and the Axis making contingency plans for para-military activity should either side invade Spain. Portugal was a focal point for SOE's Iberian Section.

    Here is a link to a blog on SOE Activities there during WWII.

    24 LAND: SOE in Portugal: a gloomy story
  2. spidge


    Interesting reading.

    I have always been intrigued by the death of Leslie Howard. Was it he that was pinpointed or someone else on the same aircraft?
  3. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    It's a bit ridiculous that I have to find out about my own country's history in a foreing forum :)

    I wasn't aware of this particular author, impartial published work on this subject is very recent only. I'll put these on my 'to buy' list.

    Salazar was a Fascist dictator, but a realist one. He knew very well how much the Portuguese economy depended on the UK, whereas he could recognise a windbag buying tungsten and paying in worthless paper. Much more so when Stalingrad came and the Germanic balloon collapsed, so there were never too many illusions about the Axis. Moreover at the time we were scared sheetless of Franco and his generals who were pushing to invade! Thankfully Franco sent the hotheads to the Ostfront to get rid of them and left us alone!

    The impression I have is that the SOE was in contact with middle and low ranking officials, handing large bribes, and being lied to by everyone.

    Let me find these books and I'll come back to you.
  4. horsapassenger

    horsapassenger Senior Member

    The SOE card index at the National Archives (file reference HS 20/1) contains details of a number of "safe houses" in Portugal

  5. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    Oh? I'd very much like to see a transcription :)
  6. mattgibbs

    mattgibbs Senior Member

    Was there a section of SOE Section D/Q operating in Portugal? I imagine it being a real hotbed of activity and quite a succeptable market for rumour and manipulation of the press. Was there an office of one of the 'tame' SOE Press Agencies there?
  7. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey

    Matt, there were certainly rumour agents operating from both Portugal and Spain.
    Rumours were sent out to various diplomatic outposts by special "Venom" telegrams. Those responsible for their dissemination were generally not dedicated D/Q section members but more often likely to be agents of other SOE country sections or regular consular staff who also undertook the task of rumour-mongering as well.

    Actually there was quite some heated criticism from one of the SOE Iberian stations about the quality of the rumours and a refusal to disseminate them for a period of time.


Share This Page