List of SOE Agents

Discussion in 'SOE & OSS' started by kingarthur, Sep 14, 2010.

  1. kingarthur

    kingarthur Well-Known Member

  2. MyOldDad

    MyOldDad Senior Member

    Thanks for that Dave. There is an interesting wikipedia entry for Eileen Nearne which has just been updated today. I will add that info to my post regarding her death.
    Tom.
     
  3. kingarthur

    kingarthur Well-Known Member

  4. MyOldDad

    MyOldDad Senior Member

    Dave,
    That was another really interesting story. I put a link in my post on Eileen Nearne to this one.
    Tom.
     
  5. kingarthur

    kingarthur Well-Known Member

  6. WhiskeyGolf

    WhiskeyGolf Senior Member

    And missing from that list is my relative:

    Sir Hardie Amies – Joined the Belgian section of the UK Special Operations Executive in 1943. Worked with the Belgian Resistance, and led Operation Ratweek.
     
    Son of POW-Escaper likes this.
  7. kingarthur

    kingarthur Well-Known Member

    And missing from that list is my relative:

    Sir Hardie Amies – Joined the Belgian section of the UK Special Operations Executive in 1943. Worked with the Belgian Resistance, and led Operation Ratweek.


    Perhaps you should contact the list author and have you relative rightly registered and listed.
     
  8. MyOldDad

    MyOldDad Senior Member

    And missing from that list is my relative:

    Sir Hardie Amies – Joined the Belgian section of the UK Special Operations Executive in 1943. Worked with the Belgian Resistance, and led Operation Ratweek.

    Wow, tell us more! He was a rather flambouyant character by all account:

    At the out break of World War Two, with his language experience Amies was called up to serve in the Special Operations Executive. Amies suspected that SOE's commander Major General Colin Gubbins did not regard a dressmaker as suitable military material, but his training report stated:[2]
    “ This officer is far tougher both physically and mentally than his rather precious appearance would suggest. He possesses a keen brain and an abundance of shrewd sense. His only handicap is his precious appearance and manner, and these are tending to decrease. ” Posted to Belgium, Amies adapted names of fashion accessories for use as code words, while managing some of the most murderous and ruthless agents in the field. Amies rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel,[3] but outraged his superiors in 1944 by setting up a Vogue photo-shoot in Belgium post D-Day.[2] In 1946, he was Knighted in Belgium, being a Named Officier de l'Ordre de la Couronne.

    Hardy Amies - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Tom.
     
  9. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

  10. MyOldDad

    MyOldDad Senior Member

    And some more:
    His combined role as an arbiter of good taste and head of sabotage in Belgium is included in his service record released yesterday at the National Archives (formerly the Public Record Office) in Kew, south-west London.
    Amies long suspected that the SOE's Maj Gen Colin Gubbins and his staff, who had been charged by Churchill with setting Europe ablaze, did not regard a dressmaker as suitable military material.
    His training report states: "This officer is far tougher both physically and mentally than his rather precious appearance would suggest.
    "He possesses a keen brain and an abundance of shrewd sense. His only handicap is his precious appearance and manner, and these are tending to decrease."
    After organising the Brussels photo-shoot in December 1944 and showing Vogue's Paris-based war correspondent Lee Miller around the re-captured capital, it appears that Amies had second thoughts about the project and warned London of the impending publication.
    He had introduced Miss Miller to society figures as well as some of the rougher characters who had parachuted in on sabotage missions and their compatriots in the Resistance.
    Miss Miller gushingly reported that she was introduced to Count and Countess d'Urssel in the bedraggled elegance of their Brussels home, where neglected treasures peered from the corners.
    "A lovely young girl, Countess Therese, greeted us. Hardy introduced me, we chit-chatted and I kept watching her 'baby face' which had been such a perfect passport for her activities in the Resistance movement," she wrote.
    "She is supposed to have carried millions of francs in her handbag delivering funds for arms and bribery, for saboteurs and the hidden army.
    "We lunched in the mess with boys who had organised the inside revolt from the outside, from England. We ate what they call 'Le Singe Rose' (bully beef) and Hardy hauled me off to explain to the Belgian cook how to make American corned beef hash like I'd given him in Hampstead once."
    Her article was to be accompanied by photos of Amies walking the wet streets of Brussels, patting a dog, and with Resistance workers.
    But his war role was controversial, with frequent disagreements with the Belgian government-in-exile over the extent that the country was to be damaged by sabotage.
    Collaborators were a perpetual danger, with the Germans penetrating the SOE network, leading to the deaths of 105 of the 250 agents parachuted in.
    The unnamed officer sent to censor the magazine's article succeeded only in removing exact details of Amies's wartime role and confessed that the remainder could do little damage. But he reported back scathingly to Maj Gen Gubbins: "What seems extraordinary to me is that a serving officer should lend himself and his Secret Service background in the interests of his private affairs, to wit, one of England's chief dress designers employed by the House of Worth, to a gaudy publicity stunt.
    "However, it is not for me to reason why, but no doubt the profile of Lt Col Amies in the next issue of the Vogue will cause a flutter in many feminine hearts when they realise that their handsome couturier is, after all, the 'Scarlet Pimpernel' of this war."
    The incident seems to have altered the view of him in the SOE. Maj Gen Gubbins had noted in September 1944: "He does his work well and is fit for promotion." In January 1945 he wrote: "A little bit colourless, but does his work adequately." Amies, discreetly homosexual, referred to the Intelligence Corps badge with its Tudor rose as "a pansy resting on its laurels".
    He confessed in his memoirs: "I was not particularly interested in sabotage, which seemed to me uncosily noisy. I think I would have fitted better into the subtleties of the Political Warfare Executive." He had been recruited into military intelligence because of his fluent German and French. He listed among his accomplishments on his application mountaineering, shooting, boxing and sketching.
    During his time in the SOE, he adapted names of fashion accessories for use as code words but also had to manage some of the most murderous and ruthless agents in the field.



    From an article in the Telegraph following his death in 2003:

    How secret agent Hardy Amies stayed in Vogue during the war - Telegraph

    Tom.
     
  11. WhiskeyGolf

    WhiskeyGolf Senior Member

    LOL - he was a flamboyant character Tom. But the last time I saw him was when I was still very young (oh that's right - I am still young!!). :D
     
  12. WhiskeyGolf

    WhiskeyGolf Senior Member

    Thanks for the info guys, I hadn't seen some of it before - much appreciated. It's hard to know where to start with all the information that is out there on him, when all I needed was just a basic outline for the family tree particularly on the military side. :)
     
  13. Suze215

    Suze215 Junior Member

    There are a number of Dutch SOE agents always missing from these lists who were dropped after the infamous Englandspiel... when the BBO was formed under SOE (1944-45). It gets my ire up when they are not remembered. Below are a few (some of whom worked with my Dad's first cousin)...
    Tobias Biallosterski
    Jan Steman
    Paul Peters
    Pieter de Vos
    Frank Hamilton
    Frankie Hamilton (did little since she was wounded upon landing,)
    Sjeerp Postma
    Maarten Cieremans
    Gerard de Stoppelaar
    Wim Hoogewerff
    Tony Visser
    and the most well-known female who is still alive Jos Gemmeke (known as SPHINX)
    Many were organisers or W/T operators.

    Holland suffered terribly during the war. The north of Holland especially during the winter of 1944-1945 because it wasn't liberated until May 1945. The Dutch have always been very stoic about it all and are admirable in their quiet resilience.
    Cheers,
    Suze
     
  14. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    RAF Bomber Command under Operation Manna supplied food packages to Dutch civilians, with the agreement of the German forces,who knew the game was up but who still stood by their Ack Ack batteries as the Lancasters flew low over them.One WAAF,it was reported, illegally carried by a skipper she knew,dropped a package,not intentionally,direct on to a German gun position.The Germans did not return "fire",much to the relief of the WAAF.

    Bomber Command crews flew well below 100 feet in order to limit damage to food packages.
     
  15. Suze215

    Suze215 Junior Member

    Harry,
    Many thanks for your reply. Yes, I am aware of the food drops. My Dad's cousin was responsible for trying to get some of them in....because it was such a harsh winter many of the drops were cancelled.
    Have a good evening!
    S
     
  16. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    SOE, the bravest of the brave.

    Lest we forget !

    Ron
     
  17. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Yes Ron,

    We have the benefit of hindsight but yet I do not think that there has been a real explanation for the wholesale collapse of the Dutch SOE section.Betrayal in the first place in field but the rot could have been stopped if security checks had been run as as procedures directed.It took two courageous Dutch SOE agents to escape to end the Englishspiel but they themselves were not believed initially and were held in custody until the deception was proved.The "game" whistle was sounded by the Germans when they realised that there would be no further deception accepted by SOE.Still the Germans thought they had the last laugh with a wireless message to SOE,mocking SOE failed attempts to set a branch in Holland.

    Apart from the loss of the majority of the Dutch SOE agents in the field,Bomber Command lost valuable crews and aircraft to the Luftwaffe as SOE operational details were made available from the Abwehr.A disasterous period for the Dutch SOE section and Bomber Command alike.

    An inquiry,at least reported that there was no plant within the Dutch SOE section at the London end as the Germans would have SOE believe.

    After nearly 70 years, the detailed events of the Englishspiel are very interesting and must still pose lessons in the way that clandestine warfare is conducted.
     
  18. Suze215

    Suze215 Junior Member

    Harry,
    Yes you are so very right that we have the benefit of hindsight..but there has never been a true explanation of the collapse of the Dutch SOE section with Englandspiel. They tried at Maastricht, when SOE set up temporary HQ after the liberation, to find out what happened to their agents. Several, including one in particular, had their hands slapped by the "upper echelons in the UK" to abandon his research when they endeavoured to "dig/investigate" too much...yes the Germans had a good laugh on April 1st but we have never gotten to the bottom of it all.........never let us forget the strength and belief of their determination and will to succeed against all odds.....God Bless them all!
    Suze
     
  19. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    Re Englandspeil - there were also 'Radio-Games' played with success in France during late 1943 and through 1944, Skorzeny who headed the German Sabotage organization preferred to use captured British equipment for some of his agents and commandos especially the silenced stens and welrods. The lapses in radio security have to be weighed as a balancing act - not all operators were always accurate in their security checks and procedures and the receiving station would have a 'fingerprint' of the operators fist (sending style) and a decision would be made based on that as to the veracity of the message - alas as has already been stated the case of the Dutch circuits wrong decisions were made and never properly explained.
     
  20. Combover

    Combover Guest

    We can add Mr. Frank Fallows. He was my neighbour of many years and we found out he was dropped into France with the SOE. He told us this 1 week before he died - about 2 weeks ago. Nobody else knew.

    RIP Frank.
     

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