Chef de Codage

Brian Rotman

  • Between Silk and Cyanide: The Story of SOE’s Code War by Leo Marks
    HarperCollins, 614 pp, £19.99, November 1998, ISBN 0 00 255944 7

In 1940, Winston Churchill gave the fledgling Special Operations Executive its sabotage and resistance mission: Set Europe Ablaze – an encroachment on its turf not to the liking of the espionage establishment, which used its more powerful ministerial presence in the wartime Cabinet to work against SOE whenever it could. Born thus under sufferance, occupying a lowly level in the Signals hierarchy, run by an establishment-respectful general and composed of independent units – one for each occupied country except France, which had two, one for de Gaulle’s Free French and another for those loyal to Giraud – each recruiting and running its own partisans, SOE was an intelligence professional’s bad dream.

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