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Special Operations Executive - this page is a stub

During World War II (WWII), the Special Operations Executive, or SOE, was a temporary British espionage, sabotage and reconnaissance organisation, that was active from 22 July 1940 to 15 January 1946. It was formed by merging Section D 1 of the SIS with Department MI(R) 2 of the British Army and with Electra House (EH) – a propaganda group of the British Foreign Office.

The SOE was a secret organisation that had its headquarters at 64 Bakerstreet in London (UK). 3 It is also known as The Bakerstreet Irregulars, as Churchill's Secret Army and as the Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare. Approx. 13,000 people were involved, 3200 of which were women [1].

During the first years of its existence, there was a fierce rivalry between the SOE and the SIS, particularly because SIS quietly conducted intelligence gathering without attracting attention, whilst the SOE carried out sabotage operations with the aim to attract maximum attention.

Initially, the SOE used clandestine radio sets, also known as spy radio sets, that were developed by the SIS, but this changed in mid-1942 when the SOE established its own research facility at the Frythe (Station IX) near Welwyn (Hertfordshire, UK) and began developing their own radio sets. The SOE-designs were influenced by the Polish spy radio sets — developed by Polish engineers at Stanmore Park (UK) — which is why they are distinctively different from the SIS spy radio sets.

  1. Established in 1938 or unorthodox warfare.
  2. MI(R) = Military Intelligence Research.
  3. Also at 82 Baker Street (Michael House) and at 83 Baker Street (Norgeby House).

SOE radio sets
The famous Type 3 Mark II, also known as the B2
British suitcase spy radio set Type A Mk. II (A2)
The UK Type A Mk. III (A3)
Other radio sets used by the SOE
Whaddon Mk V spy radio set (Le Paracette) - 1941 - developed by the SIS
AP-5 spy radio set, developed by the Poles in the UK
BP-3 spy radio set developed by the Poles in the UK
BP-5 spy radio set developed by the Poles in the UK
The UK Type 31/1 (Sweetheart), produced in the UK during WW-II for Norway
Polish OP-3 (Type 30/1) WW-II clandestine receiver. Produced in the UK during WW-II.
 Other British spy radio sets

The SOE is known by the following names:

  • SOE
  • Special Operations Executive
  • The Bakerstreet Irregulars
  • Churchill's Secret Army
  • Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare
  1. Derwin Gregory, Built to Resist
    An assessment of the Special Operations Executive's Infrastructure in the United Kingdom during the Second World War, 1940-1946. University of East Anglia, 2015.
  1. Wikipedia, Special Operations Executive
    Visited 12 November 2021.

  2. Dave Gordon-Smith (G3UUR), The Agent Killer, A Spy Set with a Bit of a Reputation
    Electric Radio Magazine #352, September 2018. pp. 2-15.
    Reproduced with kind permission of Electric Radio Magazine.

  3. Geoffrey Pidgeon, The Secret Wireless War
    ISBN 978-09560515-2-3. August 2008.
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© Crypto Museum. Created: Sunday 27 June 2021. Last changed: Sunday, 14 November 2021 - 14:34 CET.
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