UNITED KINGDOM

World War II

The British Services

Special Operations Executive

Bar - Bz

Barker, Elizabeth. British Policy in South-East Europe in the Second World War. London: Barnes & Noble, 1976.

Constantinides: "British policy and activities, including much on SOE and resistance operations, are put in perspective and given a balanced account."

Barker, Thomas M. Social Revolutionaries and Secret Agents: The Carinthian Slovene Partisans and Britain's Special Operations Executive. Irvington, NY: Columbia University Press, 1990.

Basu, Shrabani. Spy Princess: The Life of Noor Inayat Khan. Stroud, UK: Sutton, 2006. Gilsum NH: Omega,2007. [pb]

From publisher: Noor Inayat Khan, code named "Madeleine," was the SOE-trained "first woman wireless transmitter in occupied France during WWII"; she "assumed the most dangerous resistance post in underground Paris. Betrayed into the hands of the Gestapo,... [s]he was executed at Dachau in 1944." See also, Fuller, Born for Sacrifice (1957).

Beavan, Colin. Operation Jedburgh: D-Day and America’s First Shadow War. New York: Penguin, 2006.

According to Peake, Studies 50.3 (Sep. 2006) and Intelligencer 15.2 (Fall-Winter 2006-2007), the author "includes a brief epilogue and a lengthy preface that digresses into gratuitous attacks on the CIA for its postwar covert action programs and the War on Terror. The preface also pays tribute to his grandfather, an OSS officer who worked with the Jeds but was not part of the Jedburgh teams. Beavan's claim that his grandfather was later the head of all CIA clandestine operations is incorrect."

Beevor, John. SOE: Recollections and Reflections, 1940-1945. London: Bodley Head, 1981.

Clark comment: Beevor was SOE's Lisbon station chief from 1940 to 1942. His personal file from SOE was included in the May 2003 release of documents transferred to the National Archives, Kew.

Bennett, Ralph.

1. "Knight's Move at Dravar: Ultra and the Attempt on Tito's Life, 15 May 1944." Journal of Contemporary History 22 (Apr. 1987): 195-207.

Clark comment: The author raises and, then, answers in the negative the question of whether Ultra gave the Allies foreknowledge of the Germans' effort to kill Tito. Sexton finds this article "[e]specially valuable for Bennett's insights on the handling of ULTRA and its limitations."

2. Sir William Deakin, Sir David Hunt, and Sir Peter Wilkinson. "Mihailovic and Tito." Intelligence and National Security 10, no. 3 (Jul. 1995): 527-529.

In essence, this statement argues that the switch of support from Mihailovic to Tito was the result of intelligence, including Ultra decrypts, showing that Tito was doing more to fight the Germans.

Bieler, Jacqueline. Out of Night and Fog: The Story of Major Guy Bieler. Ontario: CEF Books, 2008.

Clibbon, CBC News, 4 May 2010, notes that Gustave "Guy" Bieler was one of 25 Canadians recruited into SOE; only 10 survived. Bieler was captured and killed by the Nazis while working with the French Resistance. The author is Bieler's daughter.

Bines, Jeffrey. "The Establishment of the Polish Section of the SOE." In The Poles in Britain, 1940-2000: From Betrayal to Assimilation, ed. Peter D. Stachura, 21-32. London: Frank Cass, 2004.

Binney, Marcus.

1. Secret War Heroes: Men of the Special Operations Executive. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2005.

From publisher: "The author has undertaken ground-breaking research in previously classified Foreign Office files in order to write this book."

2. The Women Who Lived for Danger: The Women Agents of SOE in the Second World War. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2002. The Women Who Lived for Danger: The Agents of the Special Operations Executive. New York: Morrow, 2003. New York: Harper, 2004. [pb]

According to Peake, Studies 47.1 (2003), the author "tells the story of ten SOE women who served behind enemy lines.... Some have had their stories told before, but recently released material from the British archives ... has added new details.... Binney includes chapters on training and agent life that provide essential background.... The stories are well told and worth reading."

For Bath, NIPQ 20.1, the author gives "a factual and compelling picture" and "helps put in perspective some of the more romanticized accounts of agent activities" published earlier. King, NIPQ 22.4, adds that the book "provides valuable details to well-established histories of the SOE."

Bowman, Martin W. The Bedford Triangle: U.S. Undercover Operations from England in World War 2. Chatham, UK: Patrick Stevens, 1988. Botley, UK: Osprey, 1991. Stroud, UK: Sutton, 2003. Charleston, SC: History Press, 2009. [pb]

From publisher: The U.S. Army Air Force, OSS, and SOE "jointly played a crucial part in operations behind enemy lines in occupied Europe during World War II. Milton Ernest Hall, a country house in Bedfordshire and official UK headquarters of the U.S. Army Airforce Service Command, was located at the heart of a network of top secret Allied Radio and propaganda transmitting stations, political warfare units, and undercover American and British formations dealing in espionage and subterfuge."

To Knouse, http://home.att.net, this book "has a number of glaring faults. For one thing, the chapters on Glenn Miller are entirely superfluous and speculative, not good history at all but more a bit of rumor-mongering than anything else."

Boyce, Fredric.

1. SOE's Ultimate Deception: Operation Periwig. Stroud, UK: Sutton, 2005. Charleston, SC: History Press; 2005.

From publisher: "[S]omeone had the idea of creating an entirely fictional German resistance movement and 'selling it' to the Nazi security authorities. From January until April 1945, SOE rained propaganda leaflets on the hapless population fleeing the ruins of their cities and the oncoming Allied ground forces; they broadcast messages to the 'resistance;' they planted the most scandalous lies about eminent Nazis; and at the end they even dropped four agents on fictitious missions."

2. And Douglas Everett. SOE: The Scientific Secrets. Stroud, UK: Sutton, 2003. Charleston, SC: History Press, 2009. [pb]

From publisher: "This book explores the mysterious world of the tools SOE used for their missions of subversion and sabotage.... Written by two scientists, one of whom served in the SOE and one who was tasked with clearing up after it was disbanded; their insider knowledge presents a clear account of the way in which SOE's inventors worked."

Braddon, Russell. Nancy Wake: The Story of a Very Brave Woman. London: Cassell, 1956. New York: Norton, 1957. Woman in Arms: The Story of Nancy Wake. Special edition abridged for young readers. London: Collins, 1963. Nancy Wake: SOE's Greatest Heroine. Stroud: History Press, 2009

Brown, Arthur O. "Les Jedburghs: Un coup de maître ou une occasion manquée" [The Jedburghs: A master stroke or a lost opportunity?]. Guerres Mondiales et Conflits Contemporains 174 (1994), 127-142.

Buckmaster, Maurice J.

Seaman, I&NS 20.1 (Mar. 2005), 32, comments that these two books "concentrated upon drama at the expense of veracity."

1. Specially Employed: The Story of British Aid to French Patriots of the Resistance. London: Batchworth Press, 1952.

According to Constantinides, Buckmaster was head of SOE's F Section during World War II and, therefore, "was in a position to provide much more information than he did." Foot's SOE in France deals "more comprehensively with the subject than this volume."

2. They Fought Alone: The Story of British Agents in France. London: Odhams, 1958. New York: Norton, 1958.

Constantinides says this is an "improvement over the author's first book.... Foot's comment in SOE in France is that there is no claim that this new book is completely accurate." Chambers calls the book "typical of post-WWII books. No scruples or quibbles and the author is at the heart of things."

Bull, Stephen, ed. The Secret Agent's Pocket Manual, 1939-1945. London: Conway, 2009.

From publisher: In World War II "clandestine warfare became a permanent part of the modern military and political scene.... [M]any of these hitherto secret techniques and pieces of equipment were put into print at the time and many examples are now becoming available. This manual brings together a selection of these dark arts and extraordinary objects and techniques in their original form, under one cover to build up an authentic picture of the Allied spy."

Burns, John F. "Eileen Nearne, Wartime Spy, Dies at 89." New York Times, 21 Sep. 2010. [http://www.nytimes.com]

On 21 September 2010, Eileen Nearne's funeral service "featured a military bugler and piper and an array of uniformed mourners. A red cushion atop her coffin bore her wartime medals." She was "one of 39 British women who were parachuted into France" by SOE. Nearne operated "a secret radio link from Paris that was used to organize weapons drops to the French resistance and to shuttle messages back and forth between controllers in London and the resistance.... [S]he was arrested by the Gestapo in July 1944 and sent" to Ravensbruck and later to Markleberg. She eventually escaped and "linked up with American troops."

Butler, Ewan. Amateur Agent. London: Harrap, 1963. New York: Norton, 1963.

Return to SOE Table of Contents