Special Operations Executive

SOES.O.E.Special Operations Executive (SOE)British SOEMI(R)Special OperationsBritish special operationsBritish Special Operations ExecutiveBritish spyBritish trained
The Special Operations Executive (SOE) was a British World War II organisation.wikipedia
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Hugh Dalton

DaltonEdward Hugh John Neale DaltonHugh Dalton, who was to become
It was officially formed on 22 July 1940 under Minister of Economic Warfare Hugh Dalton, from the amalgamation of three existing secret organisations.
Dalton served in Winston Churchill's wartime coalition cabinet; after the Dunkirk evacuation he was Minister of Economic Warfare, and established the Special Operations Executive.

Resistance during World War II

resistanceundergroundresistance movement
Its purpose was to conduct espionage, sabotage and reconnaissance in occupied Europe (and later, also in occupied Southeast Asia) against the Axis powers, and to aid local resistance movements.
Various organizations were also formed to establish foreign resistance cells or support existing resistance movements, like the British Special Operations Executive and the American Office of Strategic Services (the forerunner of the Central Intelligence Agency).

Colin Gubbins

Major General Colin GubbinsMajor-General Sir Colin GubbinsColin McVean Gubbins
(Both Grand and Holland eventually attained the rank of Major-general.) However, Holland's former deputy at MI(R), Brigadier Colin Gubbins, returned from command of the Auxiliary Units to be Director of Operations of SOE.
Major-General Sir Colin McVean Gubbins (2 July 1896 – 11 February 1976) was the prime mover of the Special Operations Executive (SOE) in the Second World War.

Minister of Economic Warfare

Ministry of Economic WarfareEconomic Warfare
It was officially formed on 22 July 1940 under Minister of Economic Warfare Hugh Dalton, from the amalgamation of three existing secret organisations.
The minister was in charge of the Special Operations Executive and the Ministry of Economic Warfare.

Independent Company

Independent Companies
MI(R) was also involved in the formation of the Independent Companies, autonomous units intended to carry out sabotage and guerrilla operations behind enemy lines in the Norwegian Campaign, and the Auxiliary Units, stay-behind commando units based on the Home Guard which would act in the event of an Axis invasion of Britain, as seemed possible in the early years of the war.
As part of this, MI(R), a department of the War Office responsible for irregular operations, was asked to plan for raids on the Norwegian coast.

St Ermin's Hotel

St. Ermin Hotel
During the early months of the war, Section D was based first at St Ermin's Hotel in Westminster and then the Metropole Hotel near Trafalgar Square.
Converted to a hotel in 1896–99, it became during the 1930s, through the Second World War and beyond, a meeting place of the British intelligence services, notably the birthplace of the Special Operations Executive (SOE), and where notorious Cambridge Five double agents Philby and MacLean met their Russian handlers.

Secret Intelligence Service

MI6SISBritish Intelligence
Later that month, the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS, also known as MI6) formed a section known as Section D, under Major Lawrence Grand RE, to investigate the use of sabotage, propaganda, and other irregular means to weaken an enemy.
Section D to conduct political covert actions and paramilitary operations in time of war. Section D would organise the Home Defence Scheme resistance organisation in the UK and come to be the foundation of the Special Operations Executive (SOE) during the Second World War.

Auxiliary Units

Auxiliary UnitBritish ResistanceAuxiliary Unit Patrol
MI(R) was also involved in the formation of the Independent Companies, autonomous units intended to carry out sabotage and guerrilla operations behind enemy lines in the Norwegian Campaign, and the Auxiliary Units, stay-behind commando units based on the Home Guard which would act in the event of an Axis invasion of Britain, as seemed possible in the early years of the war. One of the organisations from which SOE was created was also involved in the formation of the Auxiliary Units, a top secret "stay-behind" resistance organisation, which would have been activated in the event of a German invasion of Britain.
In November 1940 Gubbins moved to the Special Operations Executive (SOE).

Force 136

India MissionOperation RemorseWhite Elephants, Force 136
It subsequently moved to Ceylon so as to be closer to the headquarters of the Allied South East Asia Command and became known as Force 136.
Force 136 was the general cover name for a branch of the British World War II organisation, the Special Operations Executive (SOE).

Electra House

Immediately after Germany annexed Austria (the Anschluss) in March 1938, the Foreign Office created a propaganda organisation known as Department EH (after Electra House, its headquarters), run by Canadian newspaper magnate Sir Campbell Stuart.
It is notable as the wartime London base of Cable & Wireless Limited, and office of [[British anti-invasion preparations of the Second World War#Deception and disinformation|Department EH]] — one of the three British organisations that merged in World War II to form the Special Operations Executive.

Baker Street Irregulars

enthusiaststhe Sherlock Holmes characters
Those who were part of it or liaised with it are sometimes referred to as the "Baker Street Irregulars", after the location of its London headquarters.
The Special Operations Executive (SOE), tasked by Winston Churchill to "set Europe ablaze" during World War II, had its headquarters at 64 Baker Street and was often called "the Baker Street Irregulars" after Sherlock Holmes's fictional group.

Operation Harling

destruction of the Gorgopotamos viaductOperation "Harlingbattle of Gorgopotamos
SOE occasionally carried out operations with direct military objectives, such as Operation Harling, originally designed to cut one of the Axis supply lines to their troops fighting in North Africa.
Operation Harling, known as the Battle of Gorgopotamos in Greece, was a World War II mission by the British Special Operations Executive (SOE), in cooperation with the Greek Resistance groups EDES and ELAS, which destroyed the heavily guarded Gorgopotamos viaduct in Central Greece on 25 November 1942.

Operation Anthropoid

assassination of Reinhard Heydrichassassinationassassinated
They also carried out some high-profile operations aimed mainly at the morale both of the Axis and occupied nations, such as Operation Anthropoid, the assassination in Prague of Reinhard Heydrich.
The operation was carried out by Czechoslovak army-in-exile soldiers in Prague, on 27 May 1942, after preparation by the British Special Operations Executive with the approval of the Czechoslovak government-in-exile.

Operation Jedburgh

JedburghJedburgh teamJedburgh teams
However, in 1944 SOE and OSS successfully pooled their personnel and resources to mount Operation Jedburgh, providing large scale support to the French Resistance following the Normandy landings.
Operation Jedburgh was a clandestine operation during World War II, in which personnel of the British Special Operations Executive, the U.S. Office of Strategic Services, the Free French Bureau Central de Renseignements et d'Action ("Central Bureau of Intelligence and Operations") and the Dutch and Belgian Armies were dropped by parachute into occupied France, the Netherlands and Belgium to conduct sabotage and guerrilla warfare, and to lead the local resistance forces in actions against the Germans.

Political Warfare Executive

PWEBritish wartime propagandistsSex and the Swastika
In August 1941, following quarrels between the Ministry of Economic Warfare and the Ministry of Information over their relative responsibilities, SO1 was removed from SOE and became an independent organisation, the Political Warfare Executive.
The staff came mostly from SO1, which had been until then the propaganda arm of the Special Operations Executive.

Station IX

I.S.R.B.Inter-Service Research BureauInter-Services Research Bureau
The main weapons and devices research establishments were The Firs, the home of MD1 near Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire (although this was not formally part of SOE), and Station IX at The Frythe, a country house (and former private hotel) outside Welwyn Garden City where, under the cover name of ISRB (Inter Services Research Bureau), SOE developed radios, weapons, explosive devices and booby traps.
Station IX (formerly known as the Inter-Services Research Bureau) was a secret British Special Operations Executive factory making special weapons and equipment during World War II.

Commando

commandosArmy Comandoscommando raid
Gubbins had wide experience of commando and clandestine operations and had played a major part in MI(R)'s and SOE's early operations.
The Special Operations Executive (SOE) also formed commando units from British and displaced European personnel (e.g., Cichociemni) to conduct raiding operations in occupied Europe.

Office of Strategic Services

OSSO.S.S.Office of Strategic Services (OSS)
This office, located at Room 3603, 630 Fifth Avenue, Rockefeller Center, coordinated the work of SOE, SIS and MI5 with the American FBI and Office of Strategic Services.
On the suggestion of William Stephenson, the senior British intelligence officer in the western hemisphere, Roosevelt requested that William J. Donovan draft a plan for an intelligence service based on the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) and Special Operations Executive (SOE).

Reinhard Heydrich

HeydrichR. HeydrichReinhard Tristan Eugen Heydrich
They also carried out some high-profile operations aimed mainly at the morale both of the Axis and occupied nations, such as Operation Anthropoid, the assassination in Prague of Reinhard Heydrich.
He was ambushed by a team of Czech and Slovak agents who had been sent by the Czechoslovak government-in-exile to kill the Reich-Protector; the team was trained by the British Special Operations Executive.

Ministry of Information (United Kingdom)

Ministry of InformationMinister of InformationBritish Ministry of Information
In August 1941, following quarrels between the Ministry of Economic Warfare and the Ministry of Information over their relative responsibilities, SO1 was removed from SOE and became an independent organisation, the Political Warfare Executive.
Responsibility for publicity in enemy territories was organised by Department EH (later part of the Special Operations Executive).

Gladwyn Jebb

Hubert Miles Gladwyn JebbLord GladwynSir Gladwyn Jebb
Sir Frank Nelson was nominated by SIS to be director of the new organisation, and a senior civil servant, Gladwyn Jebb, transferred from the Foreign Office to it, with the title of Chief Executive Officer.
Later, he was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Special Operations Executive.

Noor Inayat Khan

Noor-un-NisaNoorNoor Inayat Khan Courage Award
The backgrounds of agents in F Section, for example, ranged from the daughter of an Indian Sufi sect leader (Noor Inayat Khan) to working class, with some even reputedly from the criminal underworld.
Noor-un-Nisa Inayat Khan, GC (1 January 1914 – 13 September 1944), aka Nora Inayat-Khan, was a British heroine of World War II renowned for her service in the Special Operations Executive.

MD1 (military R&D organisation)

JW minesMD1Ministry of Defence 1
One department of MI(R), MI R(C), which was involved in the development of weapons for irregular warfare, was not formally integrated into SOE but became an independent body codenamed MD1.
When MIR was combined with other activities to form the Special Operations Executive, MIR(C) instead (in November 1940) became a department in the Ministry of Defence; effectively under the wing of the Prime Minister who was the Minister of Defence.

Sabotage

saboteursaboteurssabotaging
Its purpose was to conduct espionage, sabotage and reconnaissance in occupied Europe (and later, also in occupied Southeast Asia) against the Axis powers, and to aid local resistance movements.
After repeated failures in Allied bombing attempts to hit the factory, a team of French Resistance fighters and Special Operations Executive (SOE) agents distracted the German guards with a game of soccer while part of their team entered the plant and destroyed machinery.

Violette Szabo

Violette SzabóViolette Reine Elizabeth Bushell Szabo
Others such as Odette Hallowes or Violette Szabo were decorated for bravery, posthumously in Szabo's case.
5 February 1945) was a French/British Special Operations Executive (SOE) agent during the Second World War and a posthumous recipient of the George Cross.