The SOE / PWE training centre at Wall Hall aka STS 39

Discussion in 'Top Secret' started by davidbfpo, Feb 16, 2021.

  1. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    Not my subject such WW2 activity and there appears to be no previous post / thread on this facility here. There are a few web links with limited details (some are listed below).

    The January 2021 quarterly issue of 'the Local Historian', published by the British Association for Local History, with copyright asserted, has an ten page article. Special Training School (STS 39) near Radlett, Hertfordshire only operated for a year (July 1943 to May 1944, closing in July 1944), training ten agents at a time, mainly from Belgium, Poland and Norway.

    Copies of the issue are available via the website for £5: The Local Historian | Publications | British Association For Local History
    So wait a few months and you can download the January issue with the article.

    Easy links (the article lists more sources):
    1. SOE Establishment - STS 39: Wall Hall (Hackett School) - Radlett -
    2. A national list of sites
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  2. Aixman

    Aixman War Establishment addict Patron

    War Establishment VIII/465/1 - Special Training School, No. 39
    A.C.I. 05.05.1943
    effective 22.04.1943
    cancelled 28.06.1944

    (i) Personnel
    1 Commandant and chief instructor (major)
    3 Instructors (captains)
    1 Adminstrative officer (subaltern)
    1 Assistant instructor (serjeant) (Infantry)
    1 Serjeant (adminstrative duties)
    2 Clerks, R.A.S.C.
    1 Batman for officers
    4 Batmen for student officers
    1 A.C.C. cook for officers' mess
    1 A.C.C. cook for other ranks' mess
    1 A.C.C. cook for students' mess
    1 Mess orderly for officers' mess
    1 Mess orderly for other ranks' mess
    1 Mess orderly for students' mess
    2 Drivers, I.C., R.A.S.C.
    1 Sanitary Dutyman
    1 Storeman (non-technical)
    3 General dutymen
    22 Total, other ranks (includes 2 corporals and 2 lance-corporals)
    27 Total, special training school, No. 39

    (ii) Transport
    1 Car, 2-seater, 4 x 2
    1 Truck, 15-cwt., 4 x 2, G.S.

    (iii) Weapons
    5 Pistols, .38-inch
    11 Rifles, .303-inch
    11 Machine carbines, Sten, 9 m.m.

    Note: All personnel of this establishment except Instructional Staff may be of low medical category.

    Amendment No. 1, A.C.I. 27.10.1943, effective 14.10.1943:
    1 Assistant instructor, R.E. (serjeant)
    3 Clerks, R.A.S.C.

    1 Assistant instructor (infantry) (serjeant).
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  3. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron


    Is the above list online or from a reference book? It would be nice to send the authors of the article this information and any other contributions.
  4. Aixman

    Aixman War Establishment addict Patron

    The information is from TNA, WO 24 series. This one is from WO 24-1122.
    Unfortunately not online available.
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  5. Quarterfinal

    Quarterfinal Well-Known Member

    A brief synopsis of the “Hackett School,” named after a Maj John Hackett, is given in David Garnett’s ‘The Secret History of PWE,’ which explains its focus on training: “political organisers of underground resistance: agitators rather than guerrilla leaders.”

    Hackett was succeeded by a Major Gallie in October 1943. The prospect of additional and local insight in the forthcoming BALH publication is looked forward to.
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  6. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    Quarterfinal - this book was not in the article's bibliography, so thanks.

    I have contacted the BALH Editor and a pointer to this thread has gone to one of the authors.
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  7. Quarterfinal

    Quarterfinal Well-Known Member

    Hope it’s of use. Anyway, it prompted me to run a thumb over a couple of old chestnuts I’d forgotten about and some old notes:

    RHS Crossman, speaking at a RUSI lecture in Feb 52: “... political warfare, to use the proper British expression, for psychological warfare is an American invention .....”, drew this remark from Sir Robert Bruce Lockhart, Chairing the occasion: “... most, if not all, of what the Americans learned about psychological warfare, they learned from Mr Crossman ...”

    Nowadays, we have the latest kid on the block:


    I wonder if there is any progress on the first line of its Executive Summary? But that’s for another place.

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