SOE In France 1941-1945

An Official Account of the Special Operations Executive’s French Circuits

Major Robert Bourne-Patterson

Date Published :
September 2022
Publisher :
Frontline Books
Illustration :
Illustrated with a central 8-page plate section. Maps included.
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781473882034
Pages : 288
Dimensions : 9.5 X 6.5 inches
Stock Status : Out of stock. Available in 6-8 weeks
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781399019804
Pages : 288
Dimensions : 9.1 X 6.1 inches
Stock Status : In stock
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In the archives of the Special Operations Executive lay a report compiled by a staff officer and former member of SOE's French Section, Major Robert Bourne-Patterson, that until recently could not be published. Because of the highly sensitive nature of the work undertaken by the SOE, the paper was treated as confidential and its circulation was strictly limited to selected personnel. Now, at last, it can be made available to the general public.

Limited, also, was the time available to Bourne-Patterson in compiling his report in 1946 as the SOE was being wound up and many documents were being ‘weeded’ from the files. Nevertheless, the paper he wrote gives a good picture of the work of the SOE in France, the country where its operations were most extensive. It contains an overview of operations in France by the Special Operations Executive during the Second World War with detailed records of individual circuits from their inception onwards, containing much information concerning individual agents and their contacts, calendars of subversive activity against the Germans and the names and addresses of personnel connected with the circuits who had survived the war.

In writing his account, Bourne-Patterson drew heavily on personal interviews and wartime debriefings by agents.

About The Author

A peacetime solicitor, Major Robert Bourne-Patterson became one of the Special Operation Executive’s planning officers in F Section. His service in this organisation led to his involvement with some of its most famous operatives – individuals such as Violet Szarbo GC, whose will he was a witness to. He is described as being SOE’s ‘first historian’.


"A full account of SOE operations is unlikely ever to be written because some events were never documented and documents were lost or destroyed at the end of the war. This book is likely to be the best and most comprehensive account possible, being based on the previously unpublished report by a staff officer and former SOE member at the end of the war. Highly Recommended."

- FIRE Reviews

"Operations of the SOE in France, written by someone who was there and who was personally involved. Extraordinary stories of courage and determination."

- Books Monthly

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