SOE—The British Special Operations Executive, Chapter 17

Title:                      SOE—The British Special Operations Executive, Chapter 17

Author:                 Paul W. Blackstock

Blackstock, Paul W. (1978) and Frank L. Schaf, Jr. “Chapter 17: “SOE—The British Special Operations Executive”. Detroit: Gale Research Co.

LCCN:    74011567

Z6724.I7 B55


Intelligence service–Bibliography.


Subversive activities–Bibliography.

Date Updated:  March 22, 2017


The British Special Operations Executive (SOE) was a World War it hybrid of various organizations which soon gained its independence and was given the primary, mission of “setting Europe ablaze” by means of sabotage, subversion, guerrilla warfare, and the creation and supply of resistance movements in occupied countries. All these activities were to be carried out in a clandestine nature and their success depended in large part on intelligence collection either by the SOE itself or by cooperating intelligence agencies. Thus was forged CI war-fighting organization to use all means other than conventional armed forces. Its war fighting and its intelligence activities became very nearly in-distinguishable, and the pattern for postwar covert operations by an intelligence-organization was established.

In an unprecedented move the British government in the mid-1960s opened up its archives to a former intelligence staff officer (but not from SOE), M.R.D. Foot, making it possible for him to write a scholarly, definitive history, SOE In France[1]. Possibly the reason for this move was that two unofficial histories were being written, one of them critical of SOE. In addition numerous memoirs had already appeared, some of them sketchy and self-serving. By contrast, the archives of the Office of Strategic Services (0SS), the American counterpart of SOE, have remained closed until recently (1976) and only secondary sources have been available. In this chapter the few general works available on the SOE are listed, followed by a section which lists selected memoirs and biographies.


Foot, M.R.D. (1966). SOE In France: An Account of The Work of British Special Operations Executive in France 1940-1944. London: H.M. Stationery Off

Spiro, Edward(1967). Set Europe Ablaze. New York: Crowell

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


Buckmaster, Maurice J. (1952). Specially Employed: The Story of British Aid to French Patriots of The Resistance. London: The Batchworth Press

Buckmaster, Maurice J. (1958). They Fought Alone: The Story of British Agents In France. London: Odhams

Butler, Ewan (1963, 1964). Amateur Agent. New York: W. W. Norton

Carré, Mathilde Bélard (1960). I Was “The Cat”: The Truth about The Most Remarkable Woman Spy Since Mata Hari—by Herself. London: Souvenir Press

Churchill, Peter (1955). Duel of Wits. New York: Putnam

Churchill, Peter (1955, c. 1954). The Spirit in The Cage. New York: Putnam

Cowburn, Benjamin (2014, c. 1960). No Cloak, No Dagger: Allied Spycraft in Occupied France; foreword by Sebastian Faulks ; introduction by M.R.D. Foot. London: Frontline Books

Fuller, Jean Overton (1958). Double Webs; Light on The Secret Agents’ War In France. London: Putnam

Fuller, Jean Overton (1975). The German Penetration of SOE: France 1941-1944. London: William Kimber

Fuller, Jean Overton (1952). Madeleine, The Story of Noor Inayat Khan, George Cross, M. B. E., Croix De Guerre With Gold Star; with a foreword by Selwyn Jepson. London: Gollancz

Garby-Czerniawski, Roman (1961). The Big Network. London: G. Ronald

Howarth, Patrick (1955). Special Operations (by Peter Fleming, et al.). London: Routledge and K. Paul

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

Nicholas, Elizabeth (1958). Death Be Not Proud. London: Cresset Press

Psychountakēs, Giōrgos (2015, c. 1957). The Cretan Runner: His Story of The German Occupation; translated from the Greek and with an introduction by Patrick Leigh Fermor ; annotated by the translator and Xan Fielding. New York, NY: The New York Review of Books

Seth, Ronald (1954). A Spy Has No Friends. New York, Library Publishers

Vomécourt, Philippe de (1961). Who Lived to See The Day; France in Arms, 1940-1945. London: Hutchinson

[1] Foot, M.R.D. (1966). SOE In France: An Account of The Work of British Special Operations Executive in France 1940-1944. London: H.M. Stationery Off

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One Response to SOE—The British Special Operations Executive, Chapter 17

  1. Pingback: Covert Operations, Part IV | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

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