World War II

The British Services

Special Operations Executive

Mf - N

Millar, George Reid.

1. Horned Pigeon. New York: Doubleday, 1946. New York: Time-Life, 1989. [pb] London: Orion, 2003.

From publisher: This is a "classic World War II prisoner-of-war escape story" that "conveys the terrifying experience of life on the run in wartime Europe.... Captured in the Libyan desert ... and held in various prison camps in Italy, Millar was transferred to Germany after several unsuccessful escape attempts. Escaping once more,... Millar set out to reach London.... Speaking fluent French ... he was able to pass himself off as a French labourer on his hazardous journey.... [W]hen he returned to London,... [he] joined the Special Forces [SOE] ... and ... began training for operations behind enemy lines in France -- ... that is the subject of ... Maquis."

2. Maquis. London: Heinemann, 1945. Maquis: The Secret War. New York: Time-Life, 1990. [pb] Maquis: The French Resistance at War. London: Orion, 2003. London: Cassell, 2003. [pb]

From publisher: The author was parachuted into France by SOE in June 1944. "In constant danger, and often with little equipment," he "led his group of the Maquis on a series of ... adventures which challenge the imagination.... Millar's story is one of resource, endurance and hairbreadth escapes, of astonishing success and only occasional tragedy."

3. Road to Resistance: An Autobiography. London: Little, Brown; 1979. London: Arrow, 1981. [pb]

Miller, Gene E. [SFC/USA] "MI Corps Hall of Fame: Virginia Hall." Military Intelligence 20, no. 3 (Jul.-Sep. 1994): 44-45.

Minney, R.J. Carve Her Name with Pride: The Story of Violette Szabo. London: Collins, 1964. Barnsley, UK: Pen and Sword, 2006.

Szabo was an SOE agent in France. Captured by the Germans on a second mission, she was murdered in the Ravensbruck concentration camp. Szabo was portrayed by Virginia McKenna in the 1958 British film "Carve Her Name with Pride." (Nash, Spies, p. 550) See also Ottaway, Violette Szabo (2002); and Szabo, Young Brave and Beautiful (2007).

Minshall, Merlin. Guilt-Edged. London: Bachman & Turner, 1975.

Constantinides notes that Minshall served in British naval intelligence during World War II, participated in SOE's failed mission to block the Danube River and headed the British naval mission to Tito. "His version of ... the Danube mission is uncritical of his own behavior and thus suspect." In addition, there are some "errors of historical fact that show he is not well versed on details of intelligence history."

Molander, Pia. "Intelligence, Diplomacy and the Swedish Dilemma: The Special Operations Executive in Neutral Sweden, 1939-45." Intelligence and National Security 22, no. 5 (Oct. 2007): 722-744.

"SOE's organization in Sweden had a dual mandate, as much political as operational. Its primary function was to serve as an instrument for the use of regional SOE headquarters, and as a conduit for operations into Germany and axis-occupied territory.... [I]n the end it was decided the British diplomatic mission in Sweden was too important to be jeopardized by unrestricted espionage."

Morris, Eric.

1. Churchill's Private Armies: British Special Forces in Europe, 1939-1942. London: Hutchinson, 1986.

2. Guerrillas in Uniform: Churchill's Private Armies in the Middle East and the War against Japan, 1940-45. London: Hutchinson, 1989.

Morrison, Ian. Grandfather Longlegs: The Life and Gallant Death of Major H.P. Seagrim. London: Faber and Faber, 1947.

According to Seaman, I&NS 20.1 (Mar. 2005), 30, 31, Maj. Hugh Seagrim won a George Cross for his service with SOE in Burma.

Moss, William Stanley.

1. Ill Met by Moonlight. New York: Macmillan, 1950. London: Harrap, 1950. Philadelphia, PA: Paul Dry Books, 2010. [pb]

This is a first-hand story of SOE's kidnapping in April 1944 of German divisional commander on Crete General Kneipe. Constantinides notes that the rationale for the operation is unexplained.

2. War of Shadows. London: Boardman, 1952.

Picks up with the author's wartime experiences after his return from the kidnapping on Crete of German General Kneipe. Includes service in Macedonia and the Far East.

Mulgan, John. Report on Experience: A Memoir on the Allies War. London: Oxford University Press, 1985. Baltimore, MD: Frontline, 2010.

According to Gilbert, http://www.warbooksreview.com, 14 Jul. 2010, the author was a New Zealander parachuted by SOE into occupied Greece. Mulgan "writes well of his time in the Greek mountains, and makes the good point that for those engaged in partisan activities the risks were relatively small: the Germans rarely ventured into the mountains, and when they did the highly mobile partisans had time to slip away to safer areas. It was the local peasants who suffered."

Mulley, Clare. The Spy Who Loved: The Secrets and Lives of Christine Granville, Britain's First Female Special Agent of WWII. London: Macmillan, 2012.

Jones, Telegraph (London), 3 Jul. 2012, finds this to be a "compulsively readable biography" of Krystyna Skarbek, aka Christine Granville. Originally recruited by MI6, Granville joined SOE and parachuted into France where she worked with the "Jockey" resistance network. For her exploits, Granville was awarded an OBE, but died forgotten in a cheap London hotel in 1952 at the hand of a stalker. This is a "dogged piece of detective work"on the author's part. For Peake, Studies 57.1 (Mar. 2013), and Intelligencer 20.1 (Spring-Summer 2013), this book "is very well documented and a pleasure to read." See also, Masson, Christine (1975).

Murphy, Christopher J. "The Origins of SOE in France." Historical Journal 46, no. 4 (2003): 935-952.

Murphy, Christopher J. Security and Special Operations: SOE and MI5 during the Second World War. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006. New York: St. Martins, 2006.

Thurlow, I&NS 23.2 (Apr. 2008), says this is "a clear and well written study of the security issues investigated by MI5" with regard to SOE's activities during World War II. It "is solidly based on the surviving evidence, and sensible and judicious conclusions have been made about subjects which are still highly controversial.... It fills a much needed gap in its authoritative discussion of the problems and weaknesses of security" in SOE.

Murphy, Christopher J. "SOE's Foreign Currency Transactions." Intelligence and National Security 20, no. 1 (Mar. 2005): 191-208. And in The Politics and Strategy of Clandestine War: Special Operations Executive, 1940-1946, ed. Neville Wylie, 193-208. London: Routledge, 2007.

The author suggests that examination of SOE only through a geographical, country perspective is likely to miss such contributions by SOE to the war effort as the currency dealings of the Finance Directorate (D/Fin).

Murphy, David. "'I Was Terribly Frightened at Times': Irish Men and Women in the French Resistance and F Section of SOE, 1940-5." Franco-Irish Military Connections, 1590-1945, eds. Nathalie Genet-Rouffiac and David Murphy, 269-294. Four Courts Press, 2009.

Myers, E.C.W. [Brig.] Greek Entanglement. London: Hart-Davis, 1955. Rev. ed. London: Sutton, 1985.

Sarafis, Journal of the Hellenic Diaspora 13.1-2 (1986), says the revised edition of this book by the first head of the British Military Mission in Greece "contains much new material."

Nicholas, Elizabeth. Death Be Not Proud. London: Cresset, 1958.

The author looks at the lives and deaths of female SOE agents sent to France, and raises questions about SOE's handling of its operations.

Nicolson, David D. Aristide: Warlord of the Resistance. London: Leo Cooper, 1994.

Aristide was the codename for Roger Landes, called by Surveillant 3.2/3 "one of SOE's most famous agents and one of the few who lived" to tell his story. According to the publisher, the book "traces Resistance actions, the struggle against betrayal of members, and the new war after the Normandy invasion. Includes stories of the subsequent lives of survivors as well as documents from British SOE archives."

Norton-Taylor, Richard. "Forgotten Spy and Escape Artist Extraordinaire Comes in from the Cold." The Guardian, 31 Mar. 2010. [http://www.guardian.co.uk]

"His exploits as a secret agent put fictional heroes to shame. His bravery and sheer physical resilience were remarkable.... Forest Frederic Edward Yeo-Thomas -- the White Rabbit, Seahorse and Shelley were among his codenames -- today became the first secret agent to be commemorated by an English Heritage blue plaque. It was unveiled ... at Queen Court, Guilford Street, Bloomsbury, London, where he lived with his wife Barbara." See also, Seaman, The Bravest of the Brave (1997).

Nouzille, Vincent. L'espionne: Virginia Hall, une Americaine dans la guerre. Paris: Fayard, 2007.

Foot, Studies 53.1 (Mar. 2009), says that this is an "excellent account of one of the war's most remarkable secret agents...; a translation into English would be most welcome." It "is a great improvement" over Pearson, The Wolves at the Door (2005). See also, Miller, "MI Corps Hall of Fame: Virginia Hall," Military Intelligence 20.3 (1994).

Return to SOE Table of Contents