World War II

The British Services

Special Operations Executive

O - Q

Ogden, Alan. Through Hitler's Back Door: SOE Operations in Hungary, Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria 1939–1945. Barnsley, UK: Pen & Sword, 2010.

Peake, Studies 55.2 (Jun. 2011), finds that the author "describes in considerable detail more than 30 missions, with emphasis on the persistent operational glitches encountered and their often herculean efforts to overcome them.... This book is reasonably well documented, often with primary sources, though in some cases lengthy operational descriptions are not referenced to sources."

O'Halpin, Eunan. "'Hitler's Irish Hideout': A Case Study of SOE's Black Propaganda Battles." In Special Operations Executive: A New Instrument of War, ed. Mark Seaman, 201-216. London: Routledge, 2005.

O'Halpin, Eunan. "'Toys' and 'Whispers' in '16-land': SOE and Ireland, 1940-1942." Intelligence and National Security 15, no. 4 (Winter 2000): 1-18.

SOE plans for a stay-behind operation in Ireland, as well for a rumor-planting campaign, ran afoul of both MI5 and MI6 -- and of Churchill's reluctance to provide arms to the Irish.

O'Sullivan, Donal.

1. Dealing With the Devil: Anglo-Soviet Intelligence Cooperation During the Second World War. New York: Lang, 2010.

According to Peake, Studies 56.3 (Sep. 2012) and Intelligencer 19.3 (Winter-Spring 2013), the author "explains how an arrangement was reached with the SOE for Soviet agents to be dropped into German-occupied territories.... More than two dozen agents were involved.... Chronic mutual distrust hampered all operations.... Overall, the book is well documented, though O'Sullivan's judgment that the Red Orchestra was a German myth is debatable." Hashimoto, I&NS 26.6 (Dec. 2011), finds that "[t]aken as a whole this book is useful but it has severe limitations," notably its "loose academic style."

2. "Dealing With the Devil: The Anglo-Soviet Parachute Agents (Operation 'Pickaxe')." Journal of Intelligence History 4, no. 2 (Winter 2004). [http://www.intelligence-history.org/jih/journal.html]

From abstract: "From 1941 to 1944, the Royal Air Force dropped more than twenty NKVD agents into Western Europe by parachute. The goal of ... operation ... 'Pickaxe' was to organize resistance and sabotage in Nazi-occupied territories." The majority of the agents "were arrested and executed by the Gestapo.... Anglo-Soviet subversion efforts lacked the necessary level of trust and consequently could not influence the war effort substantially."

Ottaway, Susan. Violette Szabo: "The Life that I Have...." Barnsley, UK: Leo Cooper/Pen & Sword, 2002. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2003.

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) Ringlesbach, IJI&C 16.4, notes that the author's research has "corrected many errors in R.J. Minney's book" [Minney, Carve Her Name with Pride (1964)]. The reviewer found the work "fascinating." See also, Szabo, Young Brave and Beautiful (2007).

Paine, Lauran. Mathilde Carré, Double Agent. London: Hale, 1976.

Carré was actually a triple agent, working successively for the French underground, the German Abwehr, and SOE. She is best known in popular literature by one of her underground codenames, "Cat." See also, Carré, J'ai été la chatte (1959); and Young, The Cat With Two Faces (1957).

Parker, Geoffrey. The Black Scalpel: A Surgeon with SOE. London: Kimber, 1968.

Pattinson, Juliette. [Capet]

1. "'Playing the Daft Lassie with Them': Gender, Captivity and the Special Operations Executive during the Second World War." European Review of History 13, no. 2 (2006): 271-292.

2. Behind Enemy Lines: Gender, Passing and the Special Operations Executive in the Second World War. Cultural History of Modern War Series. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2007.

3. "'Passing Unnoticed in a French Crowd': The Passing Performances of British SOE." National Identities 12, no. 3 (2010): 291-308.

4. "'The Thing That Made Me Hesitate': Re-examining Gendered Intersubjectivities in Interviews with British Secret War Veterans." Women's History Review 20, no. 2 (2011): 245-263.

Pawley, Margaret. In Obedience to Instructions: F.A.N.Y. with the SOE in the Wartime Mediterranean. London: Pen & Sword/Cooper, 1999.

The first-person story of the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry attached to SOE. See also, Popham, The FANY in Peace and War (2003). For more on the FANY/Princess Royal's Volunteer Corps, see http://www.fany.org.uk.

Pearson, Judith L. The Wolves at the Door: The True Story of America's Greatest Female Spy. Guilford, CT: Lyons Press, 2005.

Clark comment: This is a biography of Virginia Hall, who served with both SOE and OSS in German-occupied France. Peake, Studies 49.4 (2005), notes that the author has worked with recently released SOE and OSS files in telling the "fascinating story" of a "genuine heroine." See also, Nouzille, L'espionne: Virginia Hall, une Americaine dans la guerre (2007); and Miller, "MI Corps Hall of Fame: Virginia Hall," Military Intelligence 20.3 (1994).

Pearton, Maurice. "SOE in Romania." In Special Operations Executive: A New Instrument of War, ed. Mark Seaman, 123-136. London : Routledge, 2006. [Capet]

Peszke, Michael A. "British Special Operations Executive Archives and Poland: An Analysis." Polish Review 42, no. 4 (1997): 431-446. [Capet]

Pickering, John. "The Jedburghs." Everyone's War 18 (2007): 65-67. [Capet]

Pickering, William, and Alan Hart. The Bandits of Cisterna. Barnsley, UK: Pen & Sword, 1991.

From Publisher: The author "was sent into Occupied Italy with a clandestine wireless set during World War II. He experienced many close encounters with the enemy and ended up fighting the Germans alongside the Italian Resistance Group, 'The Bandits of Cisterna.'"

Pimlott, Ben, ed. The Second World War Diaries of Hugh Dalton, 1940-1945. London: Jonathan Cape, 1986.

Foot, I&NS 2.1, finds the self-absorption of the man who was the minister responsible for SOE until February 1942 annoying. Nevertheless, the diaries contain "quite a few snippets ... of interest to [intelligence] experts ... as well as to ordinary readers."

Poirier, Jacques R.E. The Giraffe Has a Long Neck. Tr., John Brownjohn. London: Pen & Sword, 1995. [pb]

From publisher: The author was an SOE officer. Here, he "describes the everyday life of the Resistance with its tragedies and also moments of comedy."

Popham, Hugh. The FANY in Peace and War: The Story of the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry, 1907-2003. Rev. ed. Barnsley, Yorkshire, UK: Leo Cooper, 2003.

Peake, Studies 49.3 (2005), notes that for the intelligence professional "[a] principal point of interest ... is the FANY's service in the Special Operations Executive (SOE) during World War II and their operations with the resistance in occupied France. Some 73 were trained as agents and 39 went to France. Several were caught by the Gestapo and ended their lives in Dachau and other camps. At a time when women in the intelligence services was not an everyday occurrence, the FANYs established a powerful precedent. Popham summarizes their story well, and the bibliography provides sources where more detail can be acquired." See also, Pawley, In Obedience to Instructions (1999).

Porter, Ivor. Operation Autonomous: With S.O.E. in Wartime Romania. London: Chatto & Windus,1989.

Telegraph (London), 19 Jun. 2012: Porter "was a member of a three-man SOE team parachuted into Romania to link up with opponents of the country's pro-Nazi dictator Ion Antonescu." Captured immediately, "the team instead became a conduit for back-channel communications between Antonescu's regime and the British as Romania was caught in a vice between the Nazis and approaching Soviet forces." Porter died 29 May 2012 aged 98.

Public Record Office.

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