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Re: SOE (Special Operations Executive)

Great thread!

The SOE has facinated me since my early teens. The Norwegian section was informally known as Company Linge after the actor and reserve officer who started up an led the unit until he was killled in the Måløy raid. Some SOE agents are household names in Norway, including Gunnar "Number 24" Sønsteby, and some of the most seen movies and TV series in my country are about them.
I wonder if your grandfather flew missions to Norway?
Did you know there is a Special Forces Club in London? It's a very descrete membership club for people who served in special operations units. I believe it's open to families too, but I'm not sure.

They do have an internet site:
http://sfclub.org/

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Re: SOE (Special Operations Executive)

Crown prince Magnus and some of the better known members of Company Linge at the Special Forces Club. Gunnar "Numbe 24" to the left, Ragnar Ulstein stands third (a unit historian whom I've met), number four is Erling Lorentzen who served in the SOE as a teenager and later married a princess, then the Crown Prince and at the end Joachim Rønneberg (I met him, but didn't have the courage to talk to him)who commanded the heavy water mission. A fantastic set of characters!

http://1.vgc.no/drpublish/images/article/2015/02/25/23403612/1/990/Haakon.jpg

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Re: SOE (Special Operations Executive)

I know of the Special Forces Club. It is open to Military Intelligence types (MI5 & 6) as well as SAS & SBS & SOE veterans. Perhaps Bond would have been a member? Indeed IF himself would have qualified for membership.

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Re: SOE (Special Operations Executive)

The Lysander was well suited to special duties primarily for its STOL abilities. A Docile handling aircraft, it was used to great effect by the RAFs Special Duties Squadrons.

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stag wrote:

I know of the Special Forces Club. It is open to Military Intelligence types (MI5 & 6) as well as SAS & SBS & SOE veterans. Perhaps Bond would have been a member? Indeed IF himself would have qualified for membership.

True. Also members of foreign special forces and inteligence organisations can be members. I understand it's a great place to hear old war stories for young spies and commandoes.

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Re: SOE (Special Operations Executive)

British TV ran two drama series about SOE agents in occupied France in the eighties called 'Wish Me Luck'. They were repeated recently. I watched them all again & they were still good.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muB4CtE_Ur4

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I think I read somewhere that even after all this time they remain so sensitive that some SOE operations & indeed gadgets are still on the classified list.

Three well known SOE missions was 'Rat Week': http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Ratweek

The planned assassination of Hitler: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Foxley

The assassination of Heydrich: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Anthropoid

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Thanks for posting ... fine stuff!

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Those with further interest in Operation Anthropoid may find thsi of interest:
http://www.army.cz/images/id_7001_8000/ … ion-en.pdf

Regards,

Tecolote

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Number24 wrote:

I wonder if your grandfather flew missions to Norway?

I have no idea.  Sadly my Granfathers momento's and even medals were stolen a few years back by a family member  ajb007/mad   He did have an avid interest in the Telemark raid and met a few members from Operation Grouse.  He died a year before I met them all myself.

Last edited by Asp9mm (17th Mar 2015 19:20)

..................http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a77/darkcrown_1969/Asp9mmSIG-1-2.jpg...............

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superado wrote:

Thank you for posting, Asp9mm.  What's more amazing than those artifacts is the honored privilege of your grandfather to have been involved in the defense of Great Britain during WWII, most specifically with the SOE.  Would you by chance have actual specimens or photos of authentic mission folders from the period?

I have a few bits and pieces of SOE specific paperwork and photo's from back then, I'll be posting them later too.  I've got so much that it's difficult to choose what's next.

..................http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a77/darkcrown_1969/Asp9mmSIG-1-2.jpg...............

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Your Grandad sounded like an interesting Bloke  ajb007/cheers

1.On Her Majesties Secret Service 2.The Living Daylights 3.license To Kill 4.The Spy Who Loved Me 5.Goldfinger

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Re: SOE (Special Operations Executive)

I had a friend who had been a PoW for almost the entire Second World War. He escaped - and was recaptured - once and was heavily involved in others' escape attempts for the rest of the war. He had nothing but praise for SOE and MI9 for all the help they gave to escapers and PoWs. He once took me for lunch at a friend's house. The friend had successfully escaped from his camp in 1942, made it to Switzerland and eventually reached the UK. Remarkably, his friend still had a lot of his odds and ends from his escape. He showed me his forged papers and the civilian clothes he wore that were crafted from military uniforms. He showed me keys they had stolen/forged and even the Wanted posters printed by Germany offering a reward for his recapture. There can't be many people out there who have ever owned their own wanted posters!

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Escaping from a POW Camp and being on the Run during War Time must be a rather exciting Experience, if not rather tense  ajb007/martini

1.On Her Majesties Secret Service 2.The Living Daylights 3.license To Kill 4.The Spy Who Loved Me 5.Goldfinger

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Sadly over the years, I think many films have almost glamorised POW camps.  ajb007/crap

"Let his death be a particularly unpleasant and humiliating one."

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If you read Odette Hallowes account of the torture she was submitted too and what she observed in those camps on a daily basis. You could not ever imagine in your worst nightmare the savagery and inhumanity that was committed, and those levels the prisoners resorted too to survive.  And that was a female prison.  I can't even begin to come to terms of understanding or comprehension.

..................http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a77/darkcrown_1969/Asp9mmSIG-1-2.jpg...............

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How famous is the SOE and the agents in other countries? Here several biographies and movies were made already in the 1940-50's, so some of them are very well known. Can an average adult name 3-4 SOE agents or more in other countries?

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Most people here have never heard of SOE to be honest.  Several documentaries and programmes have been made, and like you, we made some films in the 50's, but if you asked most folks they would not know about SOE and I doubt many people could tell you the names of the famous agents.  How sad is that.  And this is the UK.  I think Violette Szabo is probably the most famous due to her bust adorning the statue to SOE on South Bank between MI6 and MI5, and because of the horrific way in which she was murdered.

Of course most of SOE's activities were still classified here until a couple of years ago, and loads still until 2024.

http://spymuseum.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/portfolio-szabo-violette001f.jpg

http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a77/darkcrown_1969/SOE/P1030971_zpspudouald.jpg

..................http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a77/darkcrown_1969/Asp9mmSIG-1-2.jpg...............

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You're right Asp, I don't think many have heard of SOE (or MI9). Szabo may have some recognition as might Odette Hallowes and possibly Peter Churchill but more amongst people with an interest in the subject or history rather than the general public. The stories of incredible heroism, spirit and ingenuity are breathtaking by any standards and it is a shame that these people are not better known.

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Here's a link to the PPK in the IWM that Odette Hallowes took from the Ravensbruck commandant in 1945:
http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/30036238

Regards,

Tecolote

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The Domino Effect wrote:

You're right Asp, I don't think many have heard of SOE (or MI9). Szabo may have some recognition as might Odette Hallowes and possibly Peter Churchill but more amongst people with an interest in the subject or history rather than the general public. The stories of incredible heroism, spirit and ingenuity are breathtaking by any standards and it is a shame that these people are not better known.

I think part of the reason SOE are so famous in Norway is because we ha a great need for heroes and heroism after the war. We were occupied without putting up too much of a fight, since we were fairly unprepared for war. Later in the war life continued not too different from usual for many, and the tales from the SOE helped people believe we were all resistance heroes

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It's funny that you say that Number24, because I do think of Norway having done their fair share in World War Two. I know the country was overrun quickly, but then any country of that size - and almost any bigger than Norway - would have suffered a similar fate. Norway's resistance was very impressive and certainly overshadows a certain Norwegian political leader whose name is now in the English dictionary with a less-flattering definition!

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Agreed  ajb007/cheers  Norway's Resistance was impressive as the French Movement.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/quisling

1.On Her Majesties Secret Service 2.The Living Daylights 3.license To Kill 4.The Spy Who Loved Me 5.Goldfinger

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Norway's military was largely unprepared for the German attack in 1940, and compared to Finland's response to the Soviet attack the year before made many Norwegians embarassed. I believe it took more time to occupy Norway than any of the other countries that were completely overrun by the Germans, but this was more due to geography than fighting. The communist resistance started fighing back after the Soviet Union was attacked a year later, and they were very active. The government-backed resistance didn't actively fight the Germans until very late in the war, with a few exceptions. That being said, the merchant navy played a very important role in WWII. I belive our merchant fleet was among the largest in the world at the time, perhaps the largest. The seamen made huge sacrifices and didn't get enough praise for this. The resistance played its most important role on the inteligence side, especially in the area of shipping. This doesn't look very glamorous to the general population. The UK and US had other heroes that took part in spectacular missions, such as the Battle of Britain, the commandoes etc. On the action-heavy side of WWII we didn't have much more than the SOE.

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Here in the UK, we had the Home Guard in case Germany did somehow manage to invade and occupy Britain. My Grandad (Mums Side) was a Member of the HG.

1.On Her Majesties Secret Service 2.The Living Daylights 3.license To Kill 4.The Spy Who Loved Me 5.Goldfinger