The White Rabbit

Title:                      The White Rabbit

Author:                  Bruce Marshall

Marshall, Bruce (1952, 2000). The White Rabbit. London: Cassell

LCCN:    2001347492

D802.F8 M27 2000



  • Previously published: London : Evans Brothers, 1952
  • Original book author was listed as “Marshall, Bruce, from the story told him by F. F. E. Yeo-Thomas.” American edition published by Boston: Houghton-Mifflin (1953)

Date Updated:  February 15, 2017

Reviewed by George C. Constantinides[1]

The heroic and gruesome story of F.F.E. Yeo-Thomas’ career in the RF Section of SOE during World War II. The gruesome part covers his imprisonment, terrible ordeal in a German concentration camp, and escape and comprises some sixty percent of the book. Yeo-Thomas was captured on his second mission to France to rescue the resistance leader Brossolette. He was betrayed and became one of the few SOE men to survive German captivity. There are early snippets on SOE’s F and RF sections and on the strained relations between F and the French BCRA. Howarth in Undercover[2] considered Yeo-Thomas’s intervention with Churchill, described by Marshall, as of critical importance. It resulted, he said, in the transformation of support to the resistance in France “from the theoretical to the practical.” Without meaning to detract from Yeo-Thomas’s bravery and his amazing capacity to endure hardship, one can question the professional wisdom of sending a man from SOE headquarters, the head of the planning section and privy to many operations in France, on such a mission. Sweet-Escott in Baker Street Irregular[3] provides an explanation for the permission given to Yeo-Thomas to go to France and informs of the formal SOE policy on staff officers’ going into enemy-occupied territory adopted in 1944. Marshall, the author, was also in intelligence during that war, partly with RF Section.

Reviewed by Paul W. Blackstock and Frank L. Schaf[4]

The factual account of the SOE missions of Wing Commander F .F .E . Yea-Thomas in Franc. Yea-Thomas was a member of RF Section of SOE, the French section that worked closely with General de Gaulle’s Bureau Central de Renseignements et d’Action (BCRA). The book provides some details on the operational and political problems experienced in collaborating with the French in London and with the French resistance. The author dwells on some of the gruesome aspects of Yea-Thomas’s capture and imprisonment.

[1] Constantinides, George C. (1983). Intelligence and Espionage: An Analytical Bibliography. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, pp. 315-316

[2] Howarth, Patrick (1980, 2000). Undercover: The Men And Women Of Special Operations Executive. London: Phoenix Press

[3] Sweet-Escott, Bickham (1965). Baker Street Irregular. London: Methuen

[4] Blackstock, Paul W. (1978) and Frank L. Schaf, Jr. Intelligence, Espionage, Counterespionage, And Covert Operations: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale Research Co., p.


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One Response to The White Rabbit

  1. Pingback: SOE—The British Special Operations Executive, Chapter 17 | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

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