The Special Operations Executive, the SOE, was an organisation founded by Winston Churchill in July of 1940, as a mechanism for conducting warfare by other means than direct military engagement, e.g. to encourage and facilitate espionage and sabotage both behind enemy lines, and also as a focal point for the formation of a vestigial resistance movement in Britain itself in the possible event of an Axis invasion. Known also as Churchill's Secret Army, cogniscence of their existence was not made available to the public at large until many years after the cessation of hostilities.
The headquarters of SOE were at 64, Baker Street, London.
Amongst SOE's agents can be numbered:
- Violette Szabo
- Noor Inyat Khan
- Odette Hallowes
- Francis Suttil
- France Antelm
- Diana Hope Rowden
- Edward Yeo-Thomas, known also as the White Rabbit
A history of the Special Operations Executive has been published:
The Secret History of SOE - Special Operations Executive 1940-1945, (BPR Publications, 2000), Professor William Mackenzie. ISBN 0953615189