Forgotten Voices of the Secret War
An Inside History of Special Operations in the Second World War
The definitive oral history of a unique and extraordinary organisation tasked to 'set Europe ablaze' in the Second World War
The Gestapo kept me three days in this interrogation house. They especially wanted to know what I did after my escape, and precise things on the organisation of the SOE. And just for fun I suspect, because I had really not much to tell them, they pulled one of my toenails out...' - Robert Sheppard, SOE agent
The Special Operations Executive (SOE) was a secret British organisation created early in the Second World War to encourage resistance and carry out sabotage behind enemy lines: in Winston Churchill’s famous phrase, to ‘set Europe ablaze’.
Drawing on the vast resources of the Imperial War Museum Sound Archive and featuring a mass of previously unpublished personal testimonies, Forgotten Voices of the Secret War tells the stories of SOE agents, HQ staff, diplomats, aircrew and naval personnel in their own words. As the war unfolds, we learn of parachute drops into enemy territory, torture by the Gestapo and nerve-wracking sabotage missions in far-flung climes.
Forgotten Voices of the Secret War is both an incredible account of a unique clandestine force and a fitting testament to the efforts and sacrifices of a dedicated group of courageous men and women.
Praise for Forgotten Voices of the Secret War
Roderick Bailey's assembly of tales deserves a warm welcome, both for readability - there is not a dull page - and for surprise: a great deal of it is unknown to [the] general publicMRD Foot, official historian of SOE, Literary Review
Roderick Bailey has skilfully braided their stories into a coherent narrative, and the quality of their egregious courage catches at the heartSpectator
a fascinating and at times gruesome and moving read, and is an ideal introduction to the whole subject of the SOE...thoroughly recommendedBBC Who Do You Think You Are Magazine