M R D Foot

In Daily Peril

Forgotten Voices of the Secret War: An Inside History of Special Operations During the Second World War


Ebury Press/Imperial War Museum 388pp £19.99 order from our bookshop

For years the Imperial War Museum has been collecting, unobtrusively, the recollections not only of members of the conventional armed forces, but of those secret agents who survived and could be persuaded to talk. Roderick Bailey has been through all the relevant records and here assembles with great skill a picture of the Special Operations Executive at work behind several fighting fronts. This was the one of our nine wartime secret services which specialised in subversion and sabotage; it worked the world over. He concentrates on France, Yugoslavia and Greece, the best-known cases, but includes also Norway, where SOE blocked Hitler’s attempt to make an atomic bomb, Italy, where it did wonders in support of the partisans, Poland, where it did what little it could, Albania, on which he recently wrote a good book himself, and Burma, where Karennis armed by SOE killed thousands of retreating Japanese in the War’s closing stages.

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