World War II

The British Services

Special Operations Executive

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Seaman, Mark. The Bravest of the Brave: The True Story of Wing Commander "Tommy" Yeo-Thomas, SOE, Secret Agent, Codename "White Rabbit." London: O'Mara Books, 1997.

Clark comment: This is a biography of F.F.E. Yeo-Thomas who was captured by the Nazis on his third mission for SOE into occupied France. He survived, indeed escaped from, Buchenwald. He was the subject of an earlier biography -- Marshall, The White Rabbit (1952) -- but Seaman has had access to additional sources. Foot, I&NS 13.2, is pleased that Yeo-Thomas "has now found a less sermonizing and more powerful biographer.... The strength and the humanity of one of the century's leading secret agents are well described in this book, which enhances knowledge of what is now called covert action." See also, Richard Norton-Taylor, "Forgotten Spy and Escape Artist Extraordinaire Comes in from the Cold," The Guardian, 31 Mar. 2010.

Seaman, Mark.

1. "Founding Father? Sir Colin Gubbins and the Origins of SOE." Intelligence & National Security 11 (1996): 360-363.

2. "Good Thrillers, but Bad History: A Review of Published Works on the Special Operations Executive's Work in France during the Second World War." In War, Resistance and Intelligence: Essays in Honour of M.R.D. Foot, ed. Kenneth G. Robertson, 119-133. Barnsley, UK: Leo Cooper, 1999.

3. "'A New Instrument of War': The Origins of the Special Operations Executive." In Special Operations Executive: A New Instrument of War, ed. Mark Seaman, 7-21. London: Routledge, 2005.

Seaman, Mark, ed. Secret Agent's Handbook of Special Devices. London : PRO, 2000. The Secret Agent's Handbook of Special Devices, World War II. Guildford,CT: Lyons, 2001.

Kruh, Cryptologia 25.2, identifies this as a large hardbound volume with "the main pages from the 1940's SOE Descriptive Catalogue of Special Devices and Supplies in their original format." Seaman's 30-page introduction "places the catalogue in its historical context and describes how many of the items were used on actual missions.... It is a fascinating collection."

Seaman, Mark, ed. Special Operations Executive: A New Instrument of War. London: Routledge, 2005.

According to Tillotson, Times (London), 14 Jan. 2006, this book "brings together work by those who gave papers at the first international conference on SOE at the Imperial War Museum in 1998. The papers have now been extended using previously classified material, including accounts of the impact on events of key personalities.... [T]his publication is an essential bank of information on the SOE, as well as providing pointers to many other sources."

Herrington, I&NS 21.6 (Dec. 2006), calls this "an important contribution to the growing body of scholarly work on SOE." Although "a lot of the material is not new or revelatory,... this book contains several interesting and illuminating contributions."

Seiler, Richard. La tragédie du réseau Prosper, avril-août 1943. Paris: Pygmalion, 2003.

The author raises the question of whether Churchill sacrificed the Prosper networtk to protect the preparations for the Normandy landings. See also, Francis J. Suttill and M.R.D. Foot, "SOE's 'Prosper' Disaster of 1943," Intelligence and National Security 26, no. 1 (Feb. 2011): 99-105.

Senesh, Hannah. Hannah Senesh: Her Life and Diary. New York: Schocken, 1972. Hannah Senesh: Her Life and Diary, the First Complete Edition. Woodstock, VT: Jewish Lights, 2004. 2007. [pb]

An Israeli national heroine, Senesh (and others) was parachuted by SOE into Yugoslavia in March 1944 on a mission to try to save Hungarian Jews from the Nazis. She was captured and executed. This is the diary she kept from the age of 13 with additional materials.

Simpson, John, with Mark Adkin. The Quiet Operator: Special Forces Signaller Extraordinary. London: Leo Cooper, 1993.

Smiley, David. Albanian Assignment. London: Chatto & Windus, 1984.

Telegraph (London), 9 Jan 2009: "Colonel David Smiley, who died on January 9 aged 92, was one of the most celebrated cloak-and-dagger agents of the Second World War, serving behind enemy lines in Albania, Greece, Abyssinia and Japanese-controlled eastern Thailand. After the war he organised secret operations against the Russians and their allies in Albania and Poland, among other places. Later,... he commanded the Sultan of Oman's armed forces in a highly successful counter-insurgency.... [H]e [then] organised -- with ... MI6 -- royalist guerrilla resistance against a Soviet-backed Nasserite regime in Yemen."

According to Street, Library Journal (1985), via Amazon.com, "[t]his engrossing memoir recounts British intelligence agent Smiley's two missions in 1943 and 1944 to Albanian resistance fighters. First with communist partisans and then with nationalist and monarchist groups, he helped organize and arm the Albanians against Italian and German occupation forces."

Smith, Bradley F. "SOE in Afghanistan." In Special Operations Executive: A New Instrument of War, ed. Mark Seaman, 137-147. London: Routledge, 2006. [Capet]

Smith, Michael.

1. "In-fighting that Plagued Wartime Secret Services." Telegraph (London), 30 Jun. 1997. [http://www.telegraph.co.uk]

SOE "waged battles with other Allied secret services as ruthless as any it had with the Germans, according to files released to the Public Record Office" on 29 June 1997.

2. "The Oxford Chemist in SOE Plot to Kill Hitler." Telegraph (London), 24 Jul. 1998. [http://www.telegraph.co.uk]

It was Bertie Blount "who suggested using anthrax to kill Hitler." He "was an Intelligence Corps major attached to the Special Operations Executive."

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