Special Operations Executive

Discussion in 'SOE & OSS' started by Jedburgh22, Oct 24, 2010.

  1. BjornSoby

    BjornSoby Member

    Thanks a lot.
    Bjorn
     
  2. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    Summer holidays – Spy School
    Do you have the skill to become a Second World War special agent? At Spy School, we’ll be putting you through your paces to see if you’ve got what it takes to undertake secret operations in enemy territory. See the imaginative gadgets used by the Special Operations Executive, send covert messages in Morse Code and undertake a cloak-and-dagger mission which will prove your expertise in espionage.
    IWM Duxford Cambridgeshire CB22 4QR
    Mon 23 Jul 2012 to Mon 3 Sep.
     
  3. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    Behind Enemy Lines With Violette Szabo | Past Imperfect




    December 6, 2011
    Behind Enemy Lines With Violette Szabo



    Violette Szabo was awarded the British George Cross and the French Croix de Guerre. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
    In the end, the SS officers brought them out of their barracks and took them on a long walk to a quiet spot behind a crematorium. The three women, spies for Britain’s Special Operations Executive, had survived hard labor and inhuman conditions at Ravensbruck Concentration Camp for women, where thousands of children perished from starvation, hundreds of women were sterilized, and Jews and Gypsies were maimed or murdered in Nazi medical experiments. By the winter of 1945, with Russian forces approaching, the SS moved quickly to exterminate as many prisoners as possible in an attempt to prevent future testimony of atrocities.

    Two of the spies, wireless operators Denise Bloch and Lilian Rolfe, were so malnourished they had to be carried by stretcher. Clothed in rags, their faces black with dirt and their hair matted, they had withstood torture and interrogation only to find themselves huddled together, freezing as their death sentences were read to them. The third spy, 23-year-old Violette Szabo, was still strong enough to walk. The Germans would save her for last, forcing her to watch as her two friends were made to kneel. An SS sergeant drew a pistol. Szabo went to her knees, taking the hands of her friends. How had it come to this?

    Just four years before, she was Violette Bushell, a pretty, Paris-born girl selling perfume at the Bon Marché department store in South London. Then she met Etienne Szabo, a charming, 31-year-old officer with the French Foreign Legion, at a Bastille Day parade, and they married five weeks later. But Etienne soon shipped off to North Africa, where General Erwin Rommell and his Panzer divisions were on the move through the sands of Egypt. Szabo was killed in October 1942, during the Second Battle of El Alamein. He would posthumously receive the Croix de Guerre, the highest French military award for bravery in battle, but he would never see his daughter, Tania, born to Violette in London just months before he died.


    Panzer Division advance. Etienne Szabo died from a chest wound in the Second Battle of El Alamein in October 1942. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
    Afterward, Violette Szabo seethed in London, working in an aircraft factory but yearning for some way to become more actively involved in defeating Nazi Germany. When, by chance, she met a recruiter from the Special Operations Executive, she decided to volunteer. Winston Churchill had created the SOE to send agents behind enemy lines for strategic purposes; she was fluent in French and, though just 5-foot-5, athletic and surprisingly strong for her size. She was already a crack shot in a family comfortable around guns and target practice; under rigorous SOE training, she became an accomplished markswoman. Reports described her as a persistent and “physically tough self-willed girl,” and “not easily rattled.” She was living in Brixton with her parents, who could care for Tania while she was away.

    By February 1944, Szabo was finishing parachute training and gearing up for her first mission in France. The SOE codemaster, Leo Marks, observed that she was struggling with her poem code, a cryptographic method of sending and receiving messages with random groups of words from an assigned poem serving as a key, where each letter is assigned a number. Agents would have to memorize the poem exactly, but Szabo was making small spelling mistakes that often rendered her encoding indecipherable. She was despondent, but Marks tried to solve the problem by handing her a different, simply-worded poem, one whose iambic pentameter, he thought, might improve her concentration while encrypting:

    The life that I have

    Is all that I have


    And the life that I have

    Is yours.

    The love that I have

    Of the life that I have

    Is yours and yours and yours.

    A sleep I shall have

    A rest I shall have

    Yet death will be but a pause.

    For the peace of my years

    In the long green grass

    Will be yours and yours and yours.

    “Who wrote this?” she asked, clearly moved. Marks brushed the question aside with a promise he’d look into it. In truth, Marks had written it himself after the woman he loved had been killed in a plane crash in Canada the year before. Original poems, Marks believed, made it more difficult for Germans to decode.

    Szabo continued to train, memorizing her cover story and attending briefings on the details and rendezvous points of her mission. In April 1944, she was dropped near Cherbourg, where she helped sabotage infrastructure and spied on industrial plants the Germans were using to support their war machine. After a month of SOE work, she treated herself to a shopping trip in Paris, spending 8,500 francs on a black dress at a couturier—the first “lovely dress” she had ever owned, she told a supervising agent upon handing over the receipt. She had returned to England. Szabo sometimes brought her daughter into the SOE offices at 64 Baker Street in London—where agents became known as the Baker Street Irregulars after the Sherlock Holmes group of boys who “go everywhere, see everything and overhear everyone”—as she awaited her next mission.

    On June 7, 1944, the day after Allied forces stormed the beaches of Normandy, Szabo was dropped back into France to disrupt German communications. She quickly established contact with resistance forces, including a young man named Jacques Dufour, and on the morning of June 10, the two set out on a mission by car, Szabo’s bicycle thrown in the back and her Sten gun up front.

    As they approached Salon-la-Tour, they came across a German road block. Dufour stopped the car about 50 yards from the soldiers and told Szabo to be ready to run. He leapt out and began firing his machine gun—and noticed, to his surprise, that Szabo stayed with him, firing her Sten Gun and hitting several Germans. He ordered her to run toward a wheat field while he provided cover, and once she got there she fired at the Germans from the flank, enabling Dufour to join her. The two began to run, taking cover in the tall wheat as they headed for the woods.

    Soon they heard vehicles in pursuit. Running, crawling, they tried to retreat to safety but found nowhere to go. Szabo was bleeding and her clothes were ripped; exhausted, she told Dufour she couldn’t go any further. She insisted that he flee while she tried to keep the Germans at bay, and fired judiciously for a half-hour while he found refuge under a haystack. When she ran out of ammunition, the Germans closed in. Dufour could hear them questioning her about his whereabouts. Szabo simply laughed. “You can run after him,” she said. “He is far away by now.”

    Szabo was turned over to the German secret police, who interrogated, tortured and sexually assaulted her. She refused to cooperate, however, and was transferred to Paris, held by the Gestapo and tortured some more. Fearful that the Allies might mount a rescue mission, the Germans transferred her to a series of camps and prisons. On one transfer near Paris, British planes strafed the prisoner train carrying her. The German guards exited to take cover, but a group of male prisoners were trapped as the bullets hit. Szabo secured a jug of water from a bathroom and crawled to the wounded, even with another woman chained to her ankle, so she could pass jug around and calm them.

    By the end of 1944, Szabo had arrived at Ravensbruck, still wearing the dress she’d been captured in months before. There, she joined Denise Bloch and Lilian Rolfe, where they were put to hard labor, digging wells and clearing boulders for an airfield. They were subjected to more beatings, and women around them were succumbing to tuberculosis and dysentery; Szabo hatched several plans to escape, but to no avail.

    By February 1945, more than 130,000 women and children from German-occupied Europe had passed through Ravensbruck’s gates; many stayed for a while, then were transferred to prison and labor camps, but 30,000 to 40,000 women died there. In just weeks, with the Russians only hours away, the Germans would take 20,000 prisoners on a death march toward Mecklenburg, where survivors were liberated by the Red Army.

    Szabo was not among them. Behind a crematorium, forced to her knees, holding hands with Bloch and Rolfe until the end, she felt their bodies go limp and collapse into the snow, as one shot, then another echoed through the camp. A pause, then a noise, and the life she had was no more.

    Sources

    Books: Marcus Binney, The Women Who Lived for Danger: Behind Enemy Lines During WWII, Harper, 2004. Phillip Jones, Quickly to Her Fate, P. J. Publishing, 2010. M.R.D. Root, SOE in France, Frank Cass Publishers, 2006. Conn Iggulden, The Dangerous Book of Heroes, HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. Gordon Brown, Wartime Courage: Stories of Extraordinary Courage by Exceptional Men and Women in World War Two, Bloombury Paperbacks, 2009. Bernard A. Cook, Women and War: A Historical Encyclopedia from Antiquity to the Present, ABC-CLIO, 2006. Sarah Helm, A Life in Secrets: Vera Atkins and the Missing Agents of WWII, Anchor, 2007. William Stevenson, Spymistress: The True Story of the Greatest Female Secret Agent of World War II, Arcade Publishing, 2007.

    Articles: “Violette Szabo, George Cross,” The Official Violette Szabo GC Site, Violette Szabo and Etienne Szabo “Violette Szabo” The Allied Special Forces Association, THE ALLIED SPECIAL FORCES ASSOCIATION - Formerly the Special Forces Association - UK is dedicated to creating the ALLIED SPECIAL FORCES MEMORIAL GROVE at the NATIONAL MEMORIAL ARBORETUM which will commemorate the men and women who sadly lost their li “Recollections on the Holocaust,” Degob: National Committee for Attending Deportees, degob.org “Ravensbruck,” JewishGen: An affiliate of the Museum of Jewish Heritage—A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, Ravensbrück Concentration Camp (Germany) “SOE Agent Profiles” by Nigel Perrin, Spirit of Resistance: The Life of SOE Agent Harry Peuleve, DSO MC, Pen & Sword Military, 2008, Special Operations Executive (SOE) Agents in France “Daughters of Yael–Two Jewish Heroines of the SOE,” by Martin Sugarman, Jewish Virtual Library, Daughters of Yael - Two Jewish Heroines of the SOE
     
  4. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    Malcolm Mackintosh
    Published on 8 December 2011

    PHIL DAVISON

    Intelligence agent and senior civil servant

    Born December 25, 1921; Died November 20, 2011

    Malcolm Mackintosh, who has died aged 89, had a quiet demeanour in later life that belied the fact that he had been a British intelligence agent who parachuted behind German lines during the Second World War and became a key analyst and Sovietologist during the Cold War years. As such, he was named Companion of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George (CMG) in 1975.

    James Malcolm Mackintosh was the son of Dr James Mackintosh, a professor at the University of Glasgow and one-time chief medical officer for Scotland.

    Young Malcolm, as he became known to distinguish himself from his father, attended St Mary's preparatory school in Melrose, and then Edinburgh Academy on Henderson Row before enrolling at Glasgow University to study history and Russian in 1939. War broke out as he started his studies and he was called up at the end of his first term in the summer of 1940 to train as an officer.

    His apparent innate sense of privacy, even secrecy, and his interest in Russia and its language, brought him to the attention of the campus-prowling Special Operations Executive (SOE), which would later be absorbed into the Secret Intelligence Service, MI6.

    They sent him to study the Serbo-Croat language followed by military and parachute training in Cairo and British-run Palestine. As part of the Allied efforts to counter the advances of the Axis powers in Greece and across the Balkans, Mackintosh found himself far from the bar of the Glasgow University Student's Union, parachuting into Yugoslavia to aid Tito's partisans. Nice stories to tell his fellow students if he ever got back (which he eventually would, but he was not one to talk about his wartime experiences).

    From Yugoslavia, Mr Mackintosh was part of a top-secret mission into Romania, where he helped free a group of senior Polish officers and fly them safely to Italy, where they became major players in the Allied war effort. As the Axis powers crumbled, he was assigned to the Allied Control Commission, including the victorious Soviets, towards the end of the war when he was based in Sofia.

    It was in the Bulgarian capital that he met Lena Grafova, daughter of a Russian officer, whom he married soon after the war and who remained his wife until his recent death.

    In 1946, he was able to return to the peace of Gilmorehill to complete his degree at Glasgow University, graduating in history in 1948, before using his linguistic skills at the BBC Radio's Overseas Service in London as a programme organiser for the next 12 years. It was a job that kept him very much within the radar, shall we say, of his old colleagues at British intelligence and in 1960, with the Cold War approaching freezing point, he was invited to join the Foreign Service in Whitehall as an intelligence analyst, latterly as assistant secretary to the Cabinet Office, advising the prime minister and his cabinet.

    In that role, he was arguably the first to warn Prime Minister Harold Wilson in 1968 that the Soviet Union would not sit on their hands and admire the "Prague Spring." They were, he said, far more likely to invade Czechoslovakia "in self-defence of the Warsaw Pact nations," despite the predictable criticism from not only democratic nations but would-be progressive communists around the world. He was proved very much right.

    Such was his importance, and the ability to think on his feet, that then Foreign Secretary Sir Alec Douglas-Home took him along as special adviser on an official visit to Moscow in 1973, just in case the Soviets made a diplomatic chess move that required an on-the-spot counter-attack.

    After retiring from the Cabinet Office in 1987, Mr Mackintosh was in demand as a lecturer on his military and diplomatic expertise at such places as Sandhurst military academy, the Royal United Services Institute and Chatham House, London, one of the world's leading non-governmental organisations which analyses major current affairs issues, and, not least, the University of St Andrews, where he was honorary lecturer in International Relations from 1991-97.

    In retirement, Mr Mackintosh wrote several books and magazine articles on defence issues and was a Senior Fellow at King's College London and the International Institute of Strategic Studies. He was also an Honorary Visiting Fellow at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies at University College London. But he also found time to enjoy rambling around Scotland on his trips up from the south.

    Malcolm Mackintosh, CMG, died in London after a long illness. He is survived by his wife Lena and their children Liza and Jimmy. Another son, Bobby, predeceased him.

    Malcolm Mackintosh | Herald Scotland
     
  5. Lachlan

    Lachlan Junior Member

    Hi Jeds

    I'm new here and when I saw the SOE threads, I wanted to jump right in !

    If you're making a list of SOE operatives, you might wish to add my father, James William Gow born 23rd July 1924 in Tighnabruaich, Argyll. (Unfortunately he died this year). During the war, he joined SOE from the Royal Signals and was assigned to Force 136 in the Burma campaign. His first group operation was in the summer of 1944, in the aftermath of Kohima. I have more info if you want.
     
  6. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    The Herald (United Kingdom): Malcolm Mackintosh
    --------------------------------------------------
    Herald and the Sunday Herald, The (Glasgow, Scotland)-December 8, 2011
    Author: PHIL DAVISON

    Intelligence agent and senior civil servant

    Born December 25, 1921; Died November 20, 2011

    Malcolm Mackintosh, who has died aged 89, had a quiet demeanour in later life that belied the fact that he had been a British intelligence agent who parachuted behind German lines during the Second World War and became a key analyst and Sovietologist during the Cold War years. As such, he was named Companion of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George (CMG) in 1975.

    James Malcolm Mackintosh was the son of Dr James Mackintosh, a professor at the University of Glasgow and one-time chief medical officer for Scotland.

    Young Malcolm, as he became known to distinguish himself from his father, attended St Mary's preparatory school in Melrose, and then Edinburgh Academy on Henderson Row before enrolling at Glasgow University to study history and Russian in 1939. War broke out as he started his studies and he was called up at the end of his first term in the summer of 1940 to train as an officer.

    His apparent innate sense of privacy, even secrecy, and his interest in Russia and its language, brought him to the attention of the campus-prowling Special Operations Executive (SOE), which would later be absorbed into the Secret Intelligence Service, MI6.

    They sent him to study the Serbo-Croat language followed by military and parachute training in Cairo and British-run Palestine. As part of the Allied efforts to counter the advances of the Axis powers in Greece and across the Balkans, Mackintosh found himself far from the bar of the Glasgow University Student's Union, parachuting into Yugoslavia to aid Tito's partisans. Nice stories to tell his fellow students if he ever got back (which he eventually would, but he was not one to talk about his wartime experiences).

    From Yugoslavia, Mr Mackintosh was part of a top-secret mission into Romania, where he helped free a group of senior Polish officers and fly them safely to Italy, where they became major players in the Allied war effort. As the Axis powers crumbled, he was assigned to the Allied Control Commission, including the victorious Soviets, towards the end of the war when he was based in Sofia.

    It was in the Bulgarian capital that he met Lena Grafova, daughter of a Russian officer, whom he married soon after the war and who remained his wife until his recent death.

    In 1946, he was able to return to the peace of Gilmorehill to complete his degree at Glasgow University, graduating in history in 1948, before using his linguistic skills at the BBC Radio's Overseas Service in London as a programme organiser for the next 12 years. It was a job that kept him very much within the radar, shall we say, of his old colleagues at British intelligence and in 1960, with the Cold War approaching freezing point, he was invited to join the Foreign Service in Whitehall as an intelligence analyst, latterly as assistant secretary to the Cabinet Office, advising the prime minister and his cabinet.

    In that role, he was arguably the first to warn Prime Minister Harold Wilson in 1968 that the Soviet Union would not sit on their hands and admire the "Prague Spring." They were, he said, far more likely to invade Czechoslovakia "in self-defence of the Warsaw Pact nations," despite the predictable criticism from not only democratic nations but would-be progressive communists around the world. He was proved very much right.

    Such was his importance, and the ability to think on his feet, that then Foreign Secretary Sir Alec Douglas-Home took him along as special adviser on an official visit to Moscow in 1973, just in case the Soviets made a diplomatic chess move that required an on-the-spot counter-attack.

    After retiring from the Cabinet Office in 1987, Mr Mackintosh was in demand as a lecturer on his military and diplomatic expertise at such places as Sandhurst military academy, the Royal United Services Institute and Chatham House, London, one of the world's leading non-governmental organisations which analyses major current affairs issues, and, not least, the University of St Andrews, where he was honorary lecturer in International Relations from 1991-97.

    In retirement, Mr Mackintosh wrote several books and magazine articles on defence issues and was a Senior Fellow at King's College London and the International Institute of Strategic Studies. He was also an Honorary Visiting Fellow at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies at University College London. But he also found time to enjoy rambling around Scotland on his trips up from the south.

    Malcolm Mackintosh, CMG, died in London after a long illness. He is survived by his wife Lena and their children Liza and Jimmy. Another son, Bobby, predeceased him.

    Provided By: Financial Times Information LimitedLocation(s): United Kingdom

    Europe

    Western EuropeRecord Number: 93216472Copyright 2011 Newsquest Media Group Ltd, Source: The Financial Times Limited

    The Herald (United Kingdom): Malcolm Mackintosh
     
  7. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    SOE had an officer based at Fort Hertz in Northern Burma - I have recently read his reports which make interesting background reading to the situation on the Burma - China border, the American 101 Mission under Col Carl Eifler and the Chindits of Op Longcloth

    On the 4th October there was a report by the USA Group classified C3 by the Levies, that 4 B.O.s and 200 B.O.R.s passed Wawchon HD 8059 on 5th September and intended to make for Laukhaung and China. They were without transport or W/T equipment but in good condition

    They were contacted and given an alternate route out.
     
  8. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    I came across a file at Kew today that details the training of Russian's who had been made POW in Normandy and elsewhere in France while serving with the German Army - I could not help but wonder as to their fate when returned to Russia (if they were returned). I may be an interesting project to follow up on their fates.

    I presume they were being trained for missions in Germany in German uniform or as line crossers.
     
  9. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    Major J A E MacPherson took part in both Chindit Expeditions. I recently copied his P/F at TNA Kew
     
  10. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    Lt Col Erst Van Maurik who trained Czech Operatives, was operational in France and headed up ME42 SOE's Bonzo Operation into Germany died 21 Jan 2012



    Sgt O A Brown Jedburgh WTO Died January 2012

    :poppy::poppy:RIP:poppy::poppy:
     
  11. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member Patron

    Major J A E MacPherson took part in both Chindit Expeditions. I recently copied his P/F at TNA Kew

    Hi Steven,

    Thanks for pm, I had completely missed this.:rolleyes:

    MacPherson was in column 8 and then switched to column 7 on Operation Longcloth. Burma Rifle officer I/C rifle platoon and used to take control of Supply drop areas pre-drop and organise local assistance.

    Is his P/F very large?:)
     
  12. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member Patron

    SOE had an officer based at Fort Hertz in Northern Burma - I have recently read his reports which make interesting background reading to the situation on the Burma - China border, the American 101 Mission under Col Carl Eifler and the Chindits of Op Longcloth



    They were contacted and given an alternate route out.


    Eifler's book 'The Deadliest Colonel' makes for very good reading. An extremely complex and enigmatic character, difficult to get to know, but a very effective OSS operative.
     
  13. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    Gibraltar Chronicle - The Independent Daily First Published 1801

    GSP TANGIER EXPLOSION MEMORIAL TODAY
    Gibraltar will this morning honour the memory of four officers of the Gibraltar Services Police who died in an explosion in Tangier on February 6, 1942, 70 years ago today.

    Chief Minister Fabian Picardo will unveil a plaque in the lobby of Parliament House this morning during a ceremony to be held in the presence of representatives from the military, law enforcement agencies and civilian society.


    The ceremony will also be attended by relatives of the four men and of others who were hurt in the blast.

    The four officers - Police Sergeant Terence Henning; Police Constable Abraham Attias; Police Constable Charles Samuel Curtis; and Police Constable Stephen McKillop – died on the quayside in Tangier in an explosion that also killed a fifth Briton, Eduardo Pitto.

    Scores of others were injured, including many people from Gibraltar.

    Today’s ceremony is the culmination of months of investigation by Superintendent Rob Allen, the head of the Gibraltar Defence Police, the successor of the GSP.

    Supt Allen became interested in the story of the four men during a visit to their graves in Tangier on Remembrance Day in 2010.

    “Four guys had died and very little was known about it,” Supt Allen told the Chronicle. “I’m a detective and I quite like an investigation.”

    The GSP chief researched the incident, uncovering recently-declassified documents in the National Archives in London that describe how, unbeknown to them, the GSP officers were carrying diplomatic bags filled with explosives for a wartime sabotage mission in north Africa.

    The documents show that the Special Operations Executive, Britain’s wartime secret service, was negligent in the way it handled the operation to ship explosives from Gibraltar to its operatives in Tangier.

    Supt Allen also traced eyewitnesses who saw the explosion and the aftermath, and brought together relatives of the victims.

    Although elements of the story have been told before, the Chronicle today publishes for the first time a detailed insight into the Tangier incident.

    Supt Allen said the GDP “is like a family” and that it was important to mark the sacrifice made by these four officers.
     
  14. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    ==================================================
    E. H. van Maurik - SOE operative who set up communication channels from Switzerland to agents in the South of France
    --------------------------------------------------
    Times, The (London, England)-February 3, 2012

    The son of a Dutch father and English mother, Ernest Henry van Maurik was forbidden by his mother to try speaking Dutch to his father, pointing out he would be bullied at school with a strange name and an unusual accent would make matters worse. Unconsciously, she probably saved his life. He was recruited by the Special Operations Executive under the impression that he spoke Dutch; the fact that he did not avoided him being sent to German-occupied Holland, where the SOE circuit had been penetrated and reinforcements more often than not parachuted into the waiting arms of the Gestapo.

    He had a natural facility for languages and left Lancing College with a good grounding in French and German. His father, Justus van Maurik, general manager of the British branch of the family cigar business in Holland, sent him to a cousin in Switzerland to polish up his languages and get a hang of the cigar trade. In 1936 Nazi Germany's threatening attitude prompted "Van", as he became known at Lancing, to enlist in the Territorial Army. He joined the Artists' Rifles, retuning home each year for annual camp.

    Called up on September 2, 1939, he was commissioned into the Wiltshire Regiment and seemed set for a wartime career as an infantry officer until someone noticed that his father was Dutch. By then it was late 1940, continental Europe was under Nazi control and young men and women with languages and local knowledge were being asked to volunteer to "set Europe ablaze", as Winston Churchill characterised sabotage.

    Having convinced his interviewing officer he did not speak Dutch, van Maurik was sent to the Commando Special Training School at Lochailort from where, having proved adept in the techniques of special operations and sabotage, he was sent as an instructor to the SOE training school at Arisaig.

    It was there that he ran two courses for Czech volunteers including, although he was not let into the secret at the time, two sergeants, Kubis and Gabcik, selected for the assassination of SS Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich, the sadistic "Protector" of Bohemia and Moravia. The assassination on May 27, 1942, unfortunately led to brutal reprisals against the local population. This was as close as van Maurik was able to get to action until the autumn of 1943, when it was decided to send him to neutral Switzerland where an SOE cell was operating to convey information and occasionally agents from the SOE circuits in France.

    He was parachuted into l'Ain on his second attempt, the first having failed on the previous night because of a snowstorm. He was met on the ground by a member of the local Maquis and driven up into the mountains northeast of Nantau, where the German Army, having occupied the whole of France since November 1942, seldom ventured. The fiercely anti-communist Henri Romans-Petit, commanding the local Maquis, explained, slightly to van Maurik's suspicion, that security demanded a ten-day pause before he could be smuggled into Switzerland. Meanwhile, Romans-Petit suggested, it would be useful if he visited the Maquis camps in l'Ain and report his assessment to London. Although under strict instructions to take no risk that might inhibit his arrival in Switzerland, van Maurik felt it would be churlish to decline.

    He found the Maquis of high spirit but hopelessly inadequately armed, as they had received no weapons by airdrop.

    He sent a message to SOE's Baker Street headquarters as soon as he reached Berne and a substantial supply was delivered. "Probably the most useful thing I did during the war," van Maurik would afterwards reflect in his usual wistful manner.

    His role in Switzerland was to provide an information channel to London from SOE circuits in southern France, a more secure route and less risky to the operators than radio transmissions.

    On liberation of the south of France by the Allied invasion from the Mediterranean coast in August 1944, he was recalled to London, appointed OBE and promoted lieutenant-colonel to take charge of a team of fluent German speakers ready to go to Germany to trace SOE agents who had disappeared. This mission met with some success but most of the missing had been executed.

    On demobilisation, he joined the Foreign Service and, after a year's course in Russian at Cambridge, worked for four years in the Moscow embassy. Postings to Cologne, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Copenhagan and Rio de Janeiro followed, during which he reached the rank of Counsellor and added Portuguese and Danish to his languages. In retirement he used them while driving foreign tourists round Britain. His wartime service in the interests of France was recognised in 2002 when he was appointed a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour. He was also a trustee of the Special Forces Club.

    In 1945 he married Winifred Hay, who had been his FANY secretary at SOE's headquarters. She predeceased him, and he is survived by a son and daughter.

    E. H. van Maurik, OBE, wartime officer of the SOE and diplomat, was born on August 24, 1916. He died on January 21 2012, aged 95
    Edition: 01Section: Features; ObituariesPage: 54
    Record Number: 56391833(c) Times Newspapers Limited 2012

    E. H. van Maurik - SOE operative who set up communication channels from Switzerland to agents in the South of France
     
  15. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    Chelsea veteran honoured for parachuting role
    Posted by Emma Heseltine on Feb 14, 12 11:37 AM in News
    Nearly 70 years after parachuting into France during the Second World War, Yvonne Baseden has finally been given her French parachute wings.



    The wartime achievements of the resident of St Wilfrid's care home in Chelsea, were recognised with a presentation at the home by the French defence attache Vice Admiral Charles Edward Di Coriolis on Friday (10).

    It was organised by the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (FANY), an all-female unit, affiliated to the Territorial Army.

    Yvonne's son, Simon Bailey, said: "My mother was understandably very pleased to be recognised after all this time. To be recognised for any sort of achievement is a great thing. I'm very proud.

    "And the award was dated back to her 90th birthday, which was in January, which was a nice touch."



    Yvonne was 'like any other patriotic 18 year-old' and asked her father if she could join the army, and she did so as a clerk.

    But because she could speak French, she was soon asked to work debriefing the French military when they came over to the UK.

    Eventually, she was asked to interview for the Special Operations Executive, and after completing her training, parachuted into the south west of France in March 1944, aged just 22.

    She had been working on operations in the east of France for about six months, when the man carrying her radio was stopped by the Gestapo and interrogated.

    Yvonne was captured, and spent the next nine months at Ravensbruck concentration camp in northern Germany.



    Mr Bailey continued: "It was a horrendous experience for her. She was liberated by the Swedish Red Cross in 1945, but she came back with TB and spent the next six months recovering."

    She married Desmond Bailey, who was in the colonial service, in 1948, and they lived together in Africa for many years.

    Sadly he died in 1966, and Yvonne remarried. She retired to Portugal, before moving back to England around 12 years ago, living in Fulham.

    She has one son, 61 year-old Simon, who also lives in Fulham, two grandsons, and two great-granddaughters.

    Yvonne moved into St Wilfrid's in Tite Street, Chelsea, around 18 months ago.

    Mr Bailey added: "The French decided that as a goodwill gesture they would give those men and women who parachuted into France during the Second World War their French parachute wings as a goodwill gesture.

    "They had started looking around for those veterans around 15 years ago, but my mother was living in Portugal so she got missed off the list. Thankfully now she has been recognised."
     
  16. Greg Ballard

    Greg Ballard Junior Member

    Hi Jedburgh22, I am not absolutely certain but things have come to light suggesting that my late father Stanley Selwood Ballard was an SOE agent, he is mentioned in a book having been dropped by Lysander behind enemy lines. We do know that at some stage he was active with the 420 repair and salvage in Fassberg, Quakenbruk and several other places. I just wondered if he was on your growing list of agents. Regards Greg Ballard
     
  17. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    Hi Greg, could you mention which book, I can find no surviving P/F for a Stanley Ballard, but many P/Fs were destroyed Post WWII.


    Steven
     
  18. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    The SOE epitomises more than any other service the true meaning of cold courage.

    They knowingly faced the prospect of, at best, a miserable death if caught and yet they still volunteered to be dropped into enemy territory.

    I cannot speak highly enough of this group of men & women and all honour to those who keep their memory bright.

    Ron
     
  19. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    ‘Mummy’ a forgotten Franco-British Heroine
    Berthe Emile Fraser GM

    Sometimes real heroes get swept under the carpet of history – one such is Berthe Fraser GM a British civilian, French by birth and British by marriage. Her husband a British businessman in Arras had been interned by the Germans in 1940. For her heroic activities she was recommended for a George Cross though this was downgraded to a George Medal when awarded on 23rd July 1946.
    Her iniatial resistance activities involved the care and support of British POWs held at the Doulleus POW camp, she helped them with food and clothing, even arranging for local French families to ‘adopt’ a prisoner and send him food and other comforts. When the Doulles camp was relaocted to Pomerania in Germany in January 1941she assisted in the aiding of escaped POWs in the region and passing them on to escape lines.
    In September 1941 she was arrested by the Gestapo under suspicion of resistance activities and imprisoned at Loos for some fifteen months – lack of evidence and her poor health led to her release on 23 December 1942.
    Almost as soon as she was released she made contact with officers sent from Britain; putting them in contact with sympathetic French patriots, arranging safe houses and arms caches. Ahe also aided the B.O.A. the Air Liasion section in landing operations and parachutages. She passed vital intelligence of real military on to SOE regarding V Weapons and Luftwaffe dispositions. For her operations she used her own funds, sheltering important agents such as Yeo-Thomas (the White Rabbit of R/F) and also aided Michael Trotobas and the Farmer Circuit.
    MRD Foot in SOE in France describes her
    “She was one of the great resistance heroines, a middle-aged Frenchwoman with a British husband; she had been helping escapers and saboteurs since 1940. She worked impartially for any French or British organization that needed her; arranging safe-houses, storing explosives, noting German troop movements, escorting escapers, all tasks that came her way were promptly handled. As she was a ‘natural clandestine’ she acred nothing for London’s careful compartment systems; as she was enormously brave she took risks without number”
    On the 18th February 1944 she was arrested for a second time, having been compromised by a captured British agent – she did not talk despite having suffered brutal tortures including beatings, water-boarding, being stripped and whipped. She was lucky to avoid being deported to Germany by the intervention of the Swiss Consul, and though under sentence of death she survived to be liberated by the Allied Armies on 1st September 1944.
    In a debrief she stated her motto was – ‘To serve and never beaten, to suffer and keep smiling’ a true heroine of WWII
     

    Attached Files:

  20. chubby60

    chubby60 Junior Member

    Hi Jedward
    My wifes father was an S.O.E his name was Sgt R.H. Everson 2320992 Royal Co. Signals 6/1/31---13/2/46
     

Share This Page