World War II

The British Services


L - Z

Madsen, Chris. "Strategy, Fleet Logistics, and the Lethbridge Mission to the Pacific and Indian Oceans 1943-1944." Journal of Strategic Studies 31, no. 6 (2008): 951-981.

McLachlan, Donald.

1. "Naval Intelligence in the Second World War." Journal of the Royal United Services Institute 112 (Aug, 1967): 221-228.

2. Room 39: A Study in Naval Intelligence. New York: Atheneum, 1968. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1968.

Montagu, Ewen E.S. Beyond Top Secret Ultra. London: P. Davies, 1977. New York: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, 1978. London: P. Davies, 1977.

Pforzheimer notes that Montagu was the Naval Intelligence member of the XX Committee. In particular, he handled the Ultra and Abwehr traffic pertaining to naval deception and intelligence activities within the Committee. He was also the case officer for Operation Mincemeat (see his The Man Who Never Was). "These memoirs are highly authoritative, as well as a charming and well-written contribution to the literature of intelligence." Constantinides calls the book an "outstanding memoir of intelligence" in which there are "many items and anecdotes to delight or to enlighten." However, he finds the chapter on Mincemeat "disappointing in that it contributes nothing new."

Morris, Christopher. "Ultra's Poor Relations." Intelligence and National Security 1, no. 1 (Jan. 1986): 111-122.

Peacock, Alan. The Enigmatic Sailor: Memoirs of a Seagoing Intelligence Officer. Caithness: Whittles, 2003.

Erskine, I&NS 19.4 (Winter 2004), notes that the author served in both seagoing radio-telephone and wireless-telegraphy units of the Royal Navy. The book "is a useful and very readable account of life at the sharp end of naval Sigint."

Rankin, Nicholas. Ian Fleming's Commandos: The Story of the Legendary 30 Assault Unit. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.

According to House, Proceedings 138.7 (Jul. 2012), the Intelligence Assault Unit/30 Commando/30 Assault Unit (30 AU) "was the brainchild of Commander Ian Fleming, future author of the James Bond novels." The unit was created "to seize documents and technology of intelligence value to the Royal Navy." Although the author "may have ... exaggerate[d] somewhat the roles played by both Fleming and his brainchild," this book is "a tour de force that will entertain general readers without disappointing specialists." Peake, Studies 56.4 (Dec. 2012) and Intelligencer 19.3 (Winter-Spring 2013), finds references throughout the book "to incidents and names that later appeared in the Bond books."

Richards, Brooks (Sir).

1. Secret Flotillas: Clandestine Sea Lines to France and French North Africa 1940-1944. London: HMSO, 1996.

Robb-Webb, Jon. "Anglo-American Naval Intelligence Co-operation in the Pacific, 1944-45." Intelligence and National Security 22, no. 5 (Oct. 2007): 767-786.

"The experience of the British Pacific Fleet (BPF) at the operational and tactical levels of war demonstrates a degree of co-operation that was perhaps more intimate than any other Allied services" during World War II.

Shanahan, Phil. The Real Enigma Heroes. Stroud, UK: Tempus, 2008.

According to Peake, Studies 52.4 (Dec. 2008) and Intelligencer 17.1 (Winter-Spring 2009), the author tells the story of the capture of U-559 and its Enigma codes. -- and, along the way, "corrects the historical record." Christensen, Cryptologia 34.3 (Jul. 2010), notes that this story "is told well and compactly elsewhere."

Soybel, Phyllis L. A Necessary Relationship: The Development of Anglo-American Cooperation in Naval Intelligence. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2005.

Gardner, I&NS 21.3 (Jun. 2006), believes that the author has tried to cram too much into a single volume. Also, "too much space is devoted to such topics as Allied technical developments ... and ... the matter of security marking of documents in the two nations." Nevertheless, "this book certainly suggests areas for further research and study."

Steury, Donald P. "Naval Intelligence, the Atlantic Campaign and the Sinking of the Bismarck: A Study in the Integration of Intelligence into the Conduct of Naval Warfare." Journal of Contemporary History 22, no. 2 (Apr. 1987): 209-233.

Straczek, Jozef. "The Empire Is Listening: Naval Signals Intelligence in the Far East to 1942." Journal of the Australian War Memorial 35 (2002), at: https://www.awm.gov.au/journal/j35/straczek.asp.

"The size and effort that the [Royal Navy] put into signals intelligence in the Far East during the Second World War ... belies the [dismissal] of it by Hinsley and others." In 1924, "a Naval Section was added to the GC&CS and naval interception stations were established to complement the existing direction-finding (DF) capability. The development of this signals intelligence network, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, is one of the lesser known aspects of Britain's imperial naval history and co-operation."

Syrett, David. "Communications Intelligence and the Battle for Convoy OG 71, 15-23 August 1941." Journal of Strategic Studies 24, no. 3 (2001): 86-106.

From abstract: OG 71 was one of the first British convoys in 1941. Out of "22 vessels, two escorts and eight merchant ships" were lost to German aircraft and U-boats. Both the British and Germans made mistakes in this battle. However, "[o]ne bright spot for the British ... was communications intelligence. The battle saw the first use of high frequency direction finders and ... skill[ed] use was made of information obtained from enemy radio transmissions.... [I]mportant lessons were learned by the British from such use of communications intelligence which would pave the way for a more effective implementation of such information in future convoy battles."

Wilford, Timothy. "Watching the North Pacific: British and Commonwealth Intelligence before Pearl Harbor." Intelligence and National Security 17, no. 4 (Winter 2002): 131-164.

"Throughout 1941, British Intelligence pointed to a war with Japan in South-East Asia.... British Intelligence, according to some sources, also suspected that a Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was imminent, an assessment shared with the United States."

Bath, NIPQ 19.3, notes Wilford's thesis that the Japanese fleet may have used low power, low-frequency ship-to-ship communications that allowed British DF stations to locate the ships advancing on Pearl Harbor. That information may have been passed to the U.S. authorities. The reviewer comments: "Much conjecture, little new, hard evidence."

Winton, John [pen name of John Pratt]. ULTRA at Sea: How Breaking the Nazi Code Affected Allied Naval Strategy During World War II. London: Leo Cooper, 1988. New York: Morrow, 1988. London: Heinemann, 1988. [pb]

Winton/Pratt's obituary is carried in Telegraph (London), 3 May 2001.

Return to UK WWII Services Table of Contents