Unearthing Churchill’s Secret Army: The Official List of SOE Casualties and Their Stories

Pen and Sword
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The Special Operations Executive was one of the most secretive organizations of the Second World War, its activities cloaked in mystery and intrigue. The fate, therefore, of many of its agents was not revealed to the general public other than the bare details carved with pride upon the headstones and memorials of those courageous individuals. Then in 2003, the first batch of SOE personal files was released by the National Archive. Over the course of the following years more and more files were made available. Now, at last, it is possible to tell the stories of all those agents that died in action. These are stories of bravery and betrayal, incompetence and misfortune, of brutal torture and ultimately death. Some died when their parachutes failed to open, others swallowed their cyanide capsules rather than fall into the hands of the Gestapo, many died in combat with the enemy, most though were executed, by hanging, by shooting and even by lethal injection. The bodies of many of the lost agents were never found, destroyed in the crematoria of such places as Buckenwald, Mauthausen and Natzweiler, others were buried where they fell. All of them should be remembered as having undertaken missions behind enemy lines in the knowledge that they might never return.
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About the author

Martin Mace is an author and historian.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Pen and Sword
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Published on
Dec 19, 2012
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Pages
272
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ISBN
9781783376643
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Military / World War II
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Great Britain's refusal to yield to Nazi Germany in the Second World War remains one of the greatest survival stories of modern times. Commemorated, evoked, and mythologized as it has been-chiseled and engraved onto countless monuments, the subject of an endless stream of books and films-its triumphant outcome was by no means predetermined. In December 1940, months after war was declared, the director of plans at the War Office in London was asked to draft a paper on how to win the war. He replied that he could only plan "for not losing." Britain's War: Into Battle, 1937-1941 is the first of two volumes in which Daniel Todman offers a brilliantly fresh retelling, an epic history to fit an epic story. "Opening with his discovery of some war medals sitting in a hearing-aid box that likely belonged to his grandfather, Todman realizes that despite it all a new generation seems unaware of what was truly at stake when Churchill invoked Britain's "finest hour." The war was far greater than any single heroic hour. For six years, Britain was at the dark heart of history, finding its way forward hour by hour, day by day, year by year. This volume spans the beginning and the end of the beginning, from the massive changes required to get the country onto a war footing, through the failure of appeasement, the invasion of Poland, the "phony war," the fall of France, the "miracle" of Dunkirk, the Battles of Britain, and the Blitz, ending with America's course-changing entrance into the conflict in late 1941. Todman's colossal project seamlessly merges economic, strategic, social, cultural, and military history in one compelling narrative. Rapid industrialization, social disruption, food rationing, Westminster politics, class snobbery, and the mobilization of a global empire are woven together with the major opening battles. Here, also, are key individuals-the politicians, industrialists, pub owners, housewives, the pilots of the RAF, and the sailors at Dunkirk-caught in the maelstrom that threatened to engulf not just a small island nation but the world itself.
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