Special Operations Executive

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

  1. Very helpful for TOFFEE. Interesting that SAVANNA (Wiclif Holmes) and VASELINE (Lindsay Rogers) are not included in the list.
  2. Drofacts

    Drofacts Junior Member

    While researching my granddad George Payne's WW2 service record some years ago I found to my surprise that he'd served with SOE in North Africa & Italy - something he never mentioned to anyone in the family when he was alive - and I've been trying to find out more ever since, amassing quite a lot of material but still with several gaping holes! All help very welcome.

    Originally joining the Queen’s Royal Regiment in April 1942 he suffered an accident and after getting out of hospital was posted X(i) List (ranks posted to fill vacancies in authorised War Establishments) to the Massingham mission (ISSU6/ME20) in Nov 1942, via STS3 (presumably for training), arriving in Algiers in Jan 1943. He stayed at Massingham (Club des Pins) for pretty much its entire existence before moving to Italy at the end of Nov 1944. Here he was posted to ME66 and attached to M61, which as best I can tell (?) was Torre a Mare, near Bari, where he remained until the end of the war.

    As for his role in SOE my best guess is that he was one of the many base support staff. From what he told me himself I know that his final rank was Quartermaster Sergeant. I attach a couple of his own photos. I'm certain that the small group photo was taken at the Club des Pins in 1944 (he's 7th from left, centre row). However I'm unsure where the larger 1944 or 1945 group photo was taken (he's in the back row with his arms folded). All suggestions very welcome.


  3. Pat Atkins

    Pat Atkins Patron Patron

    Folks, have found two more sheets of DZ coordinates from whatever Carpetbagger publication it was I came across online (I'd be very grateful if anyone recognises the source, it's a bit embarrassing this), plus a diagram of DZ Loganberry which may or may not have come from the same publication. As before, apologies for the lack of provenance.

    Cheers, Pat
    DZ-885thVolume01-April1944_March1945-2.jpeg DZ-885thVolume01-April1944_March1945-4.jpeg DZ_Loganberry.jpeg
  4. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    Another thread states:
  5. Pat Atkins

    Pat Atkins Patron Patron

    Good point. The Archivist was right on that thread, according to Google maps it's a spread across N Italy. LOGANBERRY is in surprisingly un-mountainous terrain, according to Google maps, as is B (near the River Brent, SE of Ponte di Fontaniva); Estill is in the mountains NE of Vicenza, Beaverton in the mountains on the modern Italian-Slovenian border NE of Udine.

    A very hasty look at the first list I posted above suggests some of those are N Italy as well - GATES, for example, is N of Vicenza (again, in a relatively flat populous area).
  6. tackler7

    tackler7 Member

    Forgive me if this is the wrong forum.

    I've obtain the SOE file of one of my rugby clubs players from Kew.

    I'm trying to make sense of it.

    What do the letters G, A and Q 'work' refer to?

    My guy was originally in G work but recommended for A or Q work and appears to have posted to Ceylon to do this towards the end of the war.

    Thank you in advance.
  7. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron


    Welcome aboard. It would help if you could add the man's full name, DoB and Service Number - assuming you have them. We do have an expert aboard, Jedburgh22, though his visits are infrequent. I will send a PM next to have a peek.

    Last edited: Nov 16, 2022
  8. tackler7

    tackler7 Member

    Thank you.

    Captain William Guest, Gordon Highlanders.

  9. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron


    Thanks. Searched this forum and he does not appear until your second post.

    Wiki has very small reference to him:
    Link: William Guest (rugby union) - Wikipedia
  10. tackler7

    tackler7 Member

    I know I wrote it!
  11. Pat Atkins

    Pat Atkins Patron Patron

    FYI, folks:

    Re background info relating to Southeast European DZs and military missions, the 148 Sqdn Appendices 01/01/44 - 14/04/45 contain inter alia various tallies of containers and packages dropped, identified by mission name and the parent organisation e.g. Force 399, etc. Also various information about the nitty-gritty of air supply, and so on. There's an awful lot to wade through (it's basically a bunch of administrative squadron reports, including e.g. sports and welfare), and much that isn't directly relevant to special operations on the ground, but I thought I'd recommend the source to any researchers who haven't already looked through it. It has a few buried gems, like Sgt Bromage's report of his time with the partisans between crashing and being repatriated to Italy.

    Available to download free from The National Archives here.
    Aixman likes this.
  12. MelR

    MelR Member

    Hello, I (new member) have spent an interesting hour or two reading all the posts in this thread about the SOE and I'm impressed at the amount of help that is available. I recently became interested in researching my family tree etc. and I've am stuck trying to interpret my uncle's SOE service record. I think I have figured out most of it but any help with the following would be greatly appreciated!

    My uncle, Alexander Good Robertson (Royal Scots Fusiliers), applied "with a view to employment" as an instructor at STS on 6th July 1942. He was transferred from STS to MO1(SP) with effect from 21st December 1942 and left the UK for Algiers (MASSINGHAM) on the 12th December 1942. He was transferred from D/H (Balkans) to J (Italy) on 28th September 1944 (ME38 Bari, Italy) as General Staff Officer III (Ops). Struck off strength from from ME61 (W/T station, Torre a Mare, Italy) on 25th July 1945. For a period in the middle, he was officer in charge of stores at 11SOD(?).

    What I need help with ...
    what was 11SOD?
    what was OC training?
    what was ME56, where he received OC training?
    what about ME66 where he was Captain ... and what was the "Operation Field Pool"?
    why would a nomination for a Commendation Card by Force 133 (3rd April 1944) be cancelled?
    for what was the Italian Partisan Medal awarded (14th July 1945)? Was it a general service medal or for specific activities?

    Many thanks!

  13. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron


    Welcome aboard. We have a few members who are experts on SOE, notably Jedburgh22 (who sometimes visits).

    To your questions as a non-expert:

    1. what was 11SOD? Possibly Special Operations Detachment.
    2. what was OC training? OC is usually Officer Commanding.
    3. what was ME56, where he received OC training? ME is often Middle East.
    6. What was the Italian Partisan Medal? SEe: Major Anthony John Oldham , https://www.secret-ww2.net/ronald-taylor and another person awarded the medal: Oliver Churchill Not clear to me if this was an Italian decoration and not a British medal.
  14. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    Welcome aboard. Others have more knowledge and expertise on SOE, notably Jedburgh22 who visits irregularly.

    So as a non-expert: 11SOD possible 11 Special Operations Detachment (NT Google), OC usually Officer Commanding and training never ends in special operations; Op Field Pool code be a code name for a supply drop location; and there a few Google hits on the Italian Partisan medal, though unclear if it is a British or Italian issued medal.
  15. MelR

    MelR Member

    Thanks Davidbfpo!

    I'm interpreting ME as Military Establishment; at various times he was at ME38, ME53, ME56, ME61 and ME66. For all but 56 I have been able to track down some information about them on the internet.

    His Italian Partisan Medal was recommended by HQ SO(M) so I guessing that it is British-issued. I did find the other recipients you mentioned (by Google). There aren't many mentions of the medal on the internet and I'm trying to figure out how significant an award it was, i.e., whether it was awarded for particularly meritorious activities or for just being there.

    I'll check out SOD for Special Operations Detachment. Also, I noticed that Jedburgh22 has been very knowledgeable and helpful in the past, so I may try to contact him directly.

    Thanks again!

  16. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron


    You have to make five posts before you can send a Private Message. I wills end him message you have landed here.
  17. Aixman

    Aixman War Establishment addict Patron

    Military Establishment 56 was a Middle East Unit.
    War Establishment VIII/741/1 (1 captain, 32 all ranks including attached, 1 motor-cycle, 1 truck, 15-cwt., 4x2, G.S.), effective 29.01.1944 until 17.04.1945, superseded by WE VIII/212/5 - Military Establishment 102 (Haifa, Levant).

    Unfortunately, I have no location for ME 56.

    Force 133 was an S.O.E unit, there is only a War Establishment for their Signals (VIII/700/1, effective 24.12.1943 until 27.10.1944, a colonel's command, 347 all ranks).

    Have you seen already this thread?
    Military Establishments Associated with the SOE
  18. MelR

    MelR Member

    Thanks Aixman!

    Yes, I've seen the post listing Military Establishments and your reply about War Establishments (very useful!). Also, according to Wikipedia "Late in 1943, SOE established a base at Bari in Southern Italy, from which they operated their networks and agents in the Balkans. This organisation had the codename "Force 133". This later became "Force 266", reserving 133 for operations run from Cairo rather than the heel of Italy. Flights from Brindisi were run to the Balkans and Poland, particularly once control had been wrested from SOE's Cairo headquarters and was exercised directly by Gubbins." I think my uncle was with Force 133 when it referred to Bari (he was posted there in January 1944).

    Hmm, given that ME56 was relatively small with only 1 Captain and my uncle was T/Captain in March 1944 when he was posted there, perhaps being posted to run ME56 was his OC training. If ME102 superseded ME56, do we know what went on at ME102?

    Best wishes!

  19. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    ME102 was the SOE Training School in Palestine
    ME 56 was the Agents Holding Unit (SOM) at Castellans in Italy
    11 SOD was 11 Special Ordnance Depot (an Army Unit attached to SOE)
    OC Training was Officer in Charge of Training
    The Italian Partisan medal was an Italian Decoration that was also awarded to British personnel who had worked with the Partisans

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  20. MelR

    MelR Member

    Thanks Steven!

    This is great! I would have responded sooner but I'm guessing that we are in different time zones (I'm a bit west of Kingston, Ontario). I will digest this new information and I hope you don't mind if I pester you later with follow-up questions.



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