Sunday, 31 August 2014

Special Operations Executive memorial, London

Memorials can tell us a great deal about aspects of history that were not well known or which may have been forgotten. When returning to our hotel in Lambeth Road we passed, on the Albert Embankment outside Lambeth Palace, a memorial to the S O E.
Reading the plaque, the S.O.E was the Special Operations Executive which 'was secretly formed for the purpose of recruiting agents, men and women of many nationalities who would volunteer to continue the fight for freedom by performing acts of sabotage in countries occupied by the enemy during the Second World War.'

The woman featured on the memorial was Violette Szabo who grew up in London, the daughter of an English father and French mother. When her husband was killed fighting in North Africa she volunteered for under cover work in France. On her second mission she was captured by the Germans, tortured and killed. Violette was only one of many women and me who were involved in S.O.E resistance operations in Europe.

The secret unit operated from London  between 1940 and 1946. There is a plaque in Baker Street designating one of the buildings from which the operatives worked.

Further information:
Special Operations Executive - IWM
Churchill's heroines - book review in Sunday Express 25 March 3013
Secret agents' memorial unveiled - BBC News 4 October 2009
Special Operations Executive 1940-1946 - BBC History
Special Operations Executive - Wikipedia

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