Bring them back alive or....

Discussion in 'Top Secret' started by Researcher1941, Sep 14, 2010.

  1. Researcher1941

    Researcher1941 Junior Member

    Ladies and Gentlemen,
    I have been on the fence about this post, but finally decided to send it to see what kind of thoughts it stimulates. I'm stuck in my own head on this having thought about it for years. I need different perspectives.

    I have my own ideas about the targeted personnel the above quote (probably paraphrased) was referring to, but would welcome ANY responses no matter how far afield they go.

    The time was early 1941. The personnel given these directives were at a minimum, Commando-trained and likely had SOE or other affiliations as well.

    These "raids" were likely not documented or if so minimally so or have been so deeply classified that it'll be another 15 years (minimum) before they surface, if they ever do. Participants were "sworn to secrecy forever"....not 50 years....forever.

    A stated major concern was "fear of embarrassing of those with whom we were allied". The directives ostensibly came from British Intelligence, what branch... who knows?

    So, anyone care to take a stab at it? Remember, early 1941....who was SO valuable and what, was so important and where?

    All thoughts welcomed.

  2. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    It would be nice to know where this Quote came from, which may help identify a particular sphere of influence.

    Without that knowledge I would hazard a guess that the target was Scientists in an occupied country.

    I think that this would discount the Rocket scientists, so I think the alternatives were radar and Atom research scientists.

    Probably completely wrong, but the quote sounds very intriguing.

  3. urqh

    urqh Senior Member

    What about the Special Duties section....or the Sweeties of the Auxillery mobs. Or even the GCI controllers hidden away from the fame of the sector operations rooms in long forgotten sites.
  4. spidge


    For the sake of a guess, possibly attempts to swoop up the major scientists, engineers etc that finally took place in the open with Operation Paperclip in 1945.
  5. Researcher1941

    Researcher1941 Junior Member

    Thanks guys....more to follow. We are all on the same track....although I wonder if its the only track.

    I don't know the originator of the quote, but I know the person that "paraphrased" it to Dad, Canadian Commando attached to a composite unit of Brit/Canadians/others? This is part of a HUGE project I'm trying to get to the bottom of. Thus far it has involved trips to Canada, UK, Norway, Sweden and Germany and more on the horizon. SOE or someone else almost certainly involved. Who besides SOE would have "jurisdiction"?

    I'm looking at 9 raids total; 8 in Norway and 1 in Holland....few details....absolutely nothing official although a few leads thru Norwegian SOE and a few others. As told to me by my the best of his knowledge none of the details were ever recorded....he certainly hoped they weren't.

    My thoughts? Probably not all 9 were related, but that many undocumented raids in a period of only 4 months that he was involved (max) is a lot of trips to the continent....Norwegian Underground laid many preps. Tells me they weren't just "out hunting"....more likely they knew right where to go and who to find. Without going into detail there was a lot of killing going much so that they broke the unit up and redistributed those that wanted to stay into "other troops". They were wearing these guys out.

    British casualties (at least three in one raid including my Dad's best mate) do not appear to have been recorded. Coincidence? poor record-keeping? Who knows. See other threads by me if curious.

    Any "experts" out there that you know of on the topics of scientists, SOE, Norway, etc. that might have a deeper knowledge. I'm stuck.


    Spidge, it seems I have tagged onto your original post when I really meant to start a post of my own.

    For a wider viewing audience should I re-post this under its own post? Don't want to be a pain in the arse though.

  6. spidge


    Spidge, it seems I have tagged onto your original post when I really meant to start a post of my own.

    For a wider viewing audience should I re-post this under its own post? Don't want to be a pain in the arse though.


    Just ask one of the mods to move it from post #9 onwards.


  7. arkrite

    arkrite Senior Member

    "Bring them back (to UK) alive or leave them "there" (Europe) dead and of no use to the Germans"

    These are the sort of words that could come back one day to haunt a politician or well known military figure.Who ever" them " are of use to the Germans but would apparently be open to an offer to aid the British. In 1941 that does not sound as if it would apply to Germans ,more likely non-Germans engaged in some sort of important work for the Nazis . This could be willingly or under duress.
    Do we know of any foriegn nationals that suddenly appeared in the UK in 1941 and engaged in essential research of any type ? Were any specialists assasinated in Europe that were known to be working for the Nazi ?
    To kill or abduct people is normally difficult to hide. Those people have family and friends who have no legal requirement such as the Secrets Act to silence them.
    Apart from the War Crimes trials after the war and short lived retributions by local people little was done to those people who collaberated in any way with the Nazi's. They have carried on with their lives and careers, their passed deeds mostly forgotten in the passage of time. Collaberation came in many forms, some as simple as doing your usual job. Can any good come of the names now being published.? Occasionaly a story pops up that a politician from the 50s, 60s and 70s has less than a clean passed life. By the time the files in the archives are released I will likely be gone or close to it.So it will be the honour of younger people to uncover these secrets.
  8. Researcher1941

    Researcher1941 Junior Member

    I have little doubt that SOE files, classified and unclassified, are (were) full of instances just like the one I mentioned.

    Norwegians I've interviewed are very close-mouthed and selective of what they talk about with outsiders...particularly if the person they're talking to are holding a note pad like I was. A number of SOE Linge Company men I met still meet monthly (or bi-monthly?) in Oslo in their own mess and one of the major reasons is because they are the only ones who they dare share certain details with (there is a natural camaraderie there also of course). Many of their neighbors and their neighbors relations are still alive and no one wants to know Olav down the street killed Uncle Sven because he was "collaborating" no matter how many years have elapsed or how benign the collaboration was. I expect this is similar anywhere in the former occupied countries. I respect can anyone not? Far from me to say otherwise.

    My take on this based on some readings of unclassified and published accounts is that many persons in occupied Europe were valued by the Allies and the Allies would go to any means to get them out safely. However, at the end of the day, they were not to fall into German hands and we all know what that means. Some were already working with the Germans and even some of these didn't fully realize it. Nils Bohr comes to mind and I would venture to say that even Prof. Bohr, with all his connections with the Danish Monarchy (if memory serves), would not have been allowed to been taken had the Germans made an overt move to take him. This ties back to the statement "for fear of embarrassing those with whom we were allied". Plausibility deniability is what they call it nowadays I think.

    I would be interested to know, as you say, who if anyone, of note during the period was spirited away successfully. That would be a research coup. The real reason for this post is to get some "new blood" into my thinking. I've spent too much time with this going around and around in my head without outside input.

    My "kingdom" for the following:
    1. The names of the Allied casualties documented and memorialized.
    2. The names of the units involved.

    BTW, Some years back, M.R. D. Foot and Gervase Cowell (late SOE Historians) both examined my data and said that the operations almost certainly occurred, but that I will likely never prove it. I'm still inclined to try.

  9. arkrite

    arkrite Senior Member

    "but that I will likely never prove it. I'm still inclined to try. "

    Well said Researcher1941. Dig around long enough and deep enough it can be surprising what you find. My trouble is I am far to easily side tracked to be a serious researcher.

    Good Luck
  10. Researcher1941

    Researcher1941 Junior Member

    :) and I may be too close to this personally...can't tell. It is wearing me out and I have to put it down for months (years) before coming back to it.

    More if and when I have it.


  11. At Home Dad (Returning)

    At Home Dad (Returning) Well-Known Member

    Sprited away. Or killed.

    Also, perhaps not only scientists were the possible targets.
    What about industrialists or financiers, for example.

    best regards

    I would be interested to know, as you say, who if anyone, of note during the period was spirited away successfully.
  12. At Home Dad (Returning)

    At Home Dad (Returning) Well-Known Member


    1 in Holland....few details....
  13. Researcher1941

    Researcher1941 Junior Member

    Rgr. That's the kind of thinking I'm looking for. I think Scientists, Resistance Leaders, Government leaders trying to make it into exile, etc. are the most obvious answers of those wanting to get out and the most likely folks the Allies were willing to help.There are unclassified publications out there that support this.

    I also have no doubt that some were simple snatch and grabs of German personnel, but I'm certainly not the one to put the limits on it....I have no earthly idea, but somebody does.

    I'll bet that some of these guys sent to the continent to bring folks back are still with us, but they are unlikely to be willing to discuss it. That was the intent, but I find as some get near their end they sometimes talk a little here and a little there and who can blame them. Its a Hell of a burden.

    I appreciate this all very much.

  14. At Home Dad (Returning)

    At Home Dad (Returning) Well-Known Member

    OK, one other thought I had on the subject was
    the connection between Holland and Norway...

    In relation to the "for fear of embarrassing our Allies" angle

    The only one which sprang to mind was Royalty.

    Dont (didn't?) both nations have a Royal Family? What if, amongst
    the lower echelons of that Royal House there was some element of
    collaboration, sexual indiscretion or even blatant support for (or profiteering
    from) the Nazi occupation?

    If possible, those Royals were to be taken to their exiled 'House' in the UK.
    If not, they were to be killed. One possible angle of research could be any
    strange, or indeed just any, deaths amongst the Royals of Holland and Norway
    in their respective countries and the way in which the funerals took place,
    whether it be a quiet family service or full Nazi honour guard style etc ...
  15. At Home Dad (Returning)

    At Home Dad (Returning) Well-Known Member

    For example, a quick google reveals that the Dutch Royal family fits your timeframe of 1941 -

    "The assets of the royal family were seized in July 1941. The wealth of the House of Orange was something of a disappointment to the German occupation authorities. It came to a total of only 12 million guilders (2 million in stocks and shares, almost 9 million in immovable property and just over 1 million in movable property).
    The Dutch Royal House

    And also there is a Canadian connection with the Dutch Royals in Ww2:

    "Princess Magriet was born in Ottawa, Ontario, as the family had been living in Canada since June 1940 after the occupation of the NetherlandsNazi Germany. The maternity ward of Ottawa Civic Hospital in which Princess Margriet was born was temporarily declared to be extraterritorial by the Canadian government."
    Princess Margriet of the Netherlands - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  16. At Home Dad (Returning)

    At Home Dad (Returning) Well-Known Member

    here's a similar 'connection', this time in print together, between the Norwegians and Dutch Royals in 1941 -

    (Rec. 11 a.m.) LONDON, Sept. 16.

    The German Commissioner for Security in the Netherlands is confiscating all the property belonging to the Dutch Royal Family under a decree providing for the confiscation of the property of persons fostering anti-German sentiments. Announcing this, the German official news agency said that "former Queen Wilhelmina from afar heaps insults on the head of the Reich and the German army, while exhorting Netherlanders to deeds of violence against the army of occupation."

    The Stockholm correspondent of the British United Press learns reliably that 1000 Norwegian municipal officers and several thousand others were arrested under the recent emergency orders. , A Swiss report says that recent arrests in Oslo include leading members of the editorial staff of the "Aftenposten," 'Morgenbladet," and "Dagbladet," who have been sent to a concentration camp.

    EMERGENCY LIFTED. A message received in Stockholm from Oslo says that Herr Terboven,, Nazi leader in Norway, announced that the state of emergency in Oslo had been lifted. It is believed that this is owing to the growing resentment of the population.
  17. Researcher1941

    Researcher1941 Junior Member

    Good Grief! That's good stuff and good thinking whether or not there's a connection. I will have to dig into this more. Royalty is a natural thought....nowhere near my first, but then royalty rarely is on my lists of things to think about. Just don't hang out in the same places I guess.

    I am in the process of hiring a German researcher in Freiburg to delve into the German records there about both locale's during the time in question. I will also ask him to keep the royal angle in mind. We know there were "governments in exile", but they didn't all scamper out at once....some never left.

    Many, many thanks. I owe you.

  18. urqh

    urqh Senior Member

    What about the Special Duties section....or the Sweeties of the Auxillery mobs. Or even the GCI controllers hidden away from the fame of the sector operations rooms in long forgotten sites.

    Ive just realised I posted in wrong thread..ignore that post sorry.
  19. 17thDYRCH

    17thDYRCH Senior Member

    Your Dad was a Canadian Commando? Identifying the unit...would that not lead somewhere?
    Only two Canadian commando units that I know of were W Commando which was comprised of RCN but was activated in 1943 for Operation Overlord or First Special Service Force which was activated on July 20th, 1942.
    You might try posting on
    Another source might be Jack Granatstein...who is one of Canada's foremost war historians.
    Fascinating project you have on your hands.
    Good luck.
  20. Researcher1941

    Researcher1941 Junior Member

    Good Morning,

    Identifying the unit would be ideal and is just one of the goals, but its proving harder than you can is doubtful there ever was a unit per se. Some of the problem is just poor WWII record-keeping; a common theme I'm coming across on both sides of the Atlantic. Some of it is probably due to attachments from other forces (Canadian in this case without their own admin) to British units. Then of course there's the secrecy angle. Its doubtful this group, initially recruited by British Officers and NCOs in Canada from Camp Borden and other places, formed or deployed as an intact Commando unit. More likely the were used as replacements for units in existence already. I have a hunch they helped form a nucleus of units formed later (FSSF and 14 CDO for instance, but that's just an educated guess...not fact yet). It is a fact that units formed, disbanded and re-formed as new ones under different names/missions, etc...... then there's the SOE angle....don't get me started.....that's the most liekly angle and a BLACK hole.

    Anyway, I will do as you recommend and ask that if you have any other ideas, including a means of contacting Jack Granatsein please either let me know or give him my contact information.

    I hope all is fantastic in "the magnificent city by the lake".



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