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Secret services

MI6- (05-40)
Mr Hooper
MI6- (12-40)
Col. Rabagliatti
MI6- (05-42)
D.O. Seymour
Dutch Section
CID- (05-40)
F. v.'t Sant
CID- (08-41)
RPJ Derksema
CID- (02-42)
MR de Bruijne
ID- (05-42)
ID- (11-42)
HG Broekman
JM Somers
Dutch Section
CID- (05-40)
F. v.'t Sant
CID- (08-41)
RPJ Derksema
MVT- (07-42)
MR de Bruijne
BBO- (03-44)
JW v Oorschot
RV. Laming
Ass. Frank Dawson
SOE - N (11-41)
Ch. Blizard
D. Keswick
SOE - N (03-43)
Seymour Bingham
SOE - N (03-44)
RI Dobson

1. The British Government

Once war had broken out the Prime Minister (from 1940) Winston Churchill resolved to himself to make sure that this war proceeded in a very different manner to that of the last one. About 1.5 million British people had died in the 1st WW.
Subterfuge was one of Churchill's main ideas. Many operations were based on this method of approach. Indeed it is possible that THE ENGLANDSPIEL was one of these covert operations. One of the most famous covert operations is, perhaps, the case of the dead body which was washed up on the Spanish coast. This was operation Mincemeat. A certain Major Martin was equipped with false secret documents in a briefcase handcuffed to his wrist and then floated away from a submarine to ensure that he washed up on the Spanish coast where his secret documents would be discovered. Enemy intelligence was then, successfully, deceived by the false documents.

2. The Ministry of foreign affairs

This ministry had its own special role for the duration of the war. The ministry was responsible for a considerable amount of contact between the British and Dutch governments. This body played a significant role throughout the war.

3. The secret services

Within the SIS, the Secret Intelligence Service, there were a number of different departments and services. In fact during the war SIS was divided into at least 14 sections each given an MI number. MI stands for Military Intelligence.
These days we have all heard of MI6 which was a large section within SIS but it is important to distinguish between SIS which dealt with and still deals with FOREIGN intelligence processing and the Security Service, or MI5, which dealt with and still deals with NATIONAL intelligence processing. MI5 dealt with national counter espionage and still does.
BUT it is important to realise that all the intelligence community worked together and still does even if there were and are the odd cases of inter-departmental rivalry.

The head of SIS from 1939 to 1952 was Major General Sir Stewart Menzies, KCB, KCMG, DSO, MC. ( b. 30 January 1890 - d. 29 May 1968) Sir Stewart was known as "C" within the service which followed a well worn tradition.

The heads of the Security Service during the war years were as follows:

1909 - 1940: Sir Vernon Kell (b. 1873 - d. 1942)
1940 - 1941: Brigadier Oswald Allen Harker
1941 - 1946: Sir David Petrie (b. 1879 - d. 1961)

When hitler announced Operation Sealion on 16th July 1940, which was intended as an invasion plan for Britain beginning in the middle of August, Churchill rapidly instated a new covert operations service.
Before looking at this, however, we need to look at some recent history:
In March 1938 it fell to Major Lawrence D. Grand, formally of the army, to set up a new section within MI6. The section was labelled "D", for demolition, and was intended to delay and arrest the attacking enemy.

At the same time another secret organisation was initiated which was known as "EH". EH stood for Electra House where the organisation was based. The head of EH was Sir Colin Campbell Stuart who was an expert in contemporary media and who had been editor of the Times newspaper.
This organisation had been set up to process propaganda and organise covert media operations.

There was also a small research operation under the leadership of Major J C F Holland of the Royal Engineers.
This unit had the code moniker MI-R on the basis that it was a Research operation. It was also referred to as MI-6-R and MI-r.
The intention here was to develop unusual methods of warfare.

The part below is taken from parts of Leo Marks book, "Between silk and cyanide" which is a fascinating insight into the life of a coding operative with SOE during the war.
Here are some of the facts with respect to the British organisation. (See books: MA-01.)

Leo Marks was 22 years old in January 1942 when he was interviewed at Major Masters' code breaking school. The founder of this school was John Tiltman who was later in charge of Bletchley Park.

After 8 weeks training the intention was to select the best of the code breaking pupils by means of a coding test. The best would be sent to Bletchley Park to begin serious code work.
Leo Marks however was not chosen to go to BP due to a curious coding slip up. (Read the book!)
Bletchley Park is a small country retreat lying some 50 miles Northwest of London. It was here that much of the real work of de-coding enemy messages took place. Some messages were received at BP but the dangers of having aerials around the site was quickly realised and radio listening stations were moved elsewhere.

Bletchley Park was the home of the Government Code and Cipher School (GCCS) and although they were closely linked with many secret organisations, they operated separately from SIS.
MI8 was the moniker for the Radio Security Service which was responsible for a variety of different listening and counter intelligence functions.

The present day GCHQ is related to the early days at Bletchley Park.

Leo Marks worked for SOE and part of his work was to ensure that incoming messages were correctly decoded.
The decoding work was done at a variety of stations some of which were known as Station 53.
To do this somewhat tedious repetitive work SOE employed numerous young ladies.

The true nature of the complex workings of the wartime signals web is somewhat difficult to portray in brief, to start with all SOE messages came through SIS controlled receiving stations.
In charge of the signals directorate was Colonel Ozanne whose deputy was George Pollock.
These two officers seemed to make life ridiculously hard for the staff of SOE. They controlled all of the stations, all of the staff and all of the codes. Ozanne was reputedly only interested in gaining higher rank.

Head of coding with SOE was Captain Dansey with Lt Owen as assistant. Captain Heffer worked together with this team.
Leo marks was sent to join these men with a special assignment for maintaining radio contacts, the security of radio contact and the cracking of those messages received which were considered indecipherable.

Prior to being chosen to join the coding section at SOE Marks had to sit a decoding test. By some bizarre incident he was not given a decipher sheet with his decoding test and when the exam time ran out the invigilator thought he was obviously a useless candidate. However Marks had actually cracked the message from first principles. Thus he truly impressed his potential employers.

Indeed Marks then questioned whether SOE was still using the coding system he had just broken to which the answer was yes. This seemed madness to Marks who began work at SOE in mid-1942. He was specifically tasked to ensure that all the messages which came in "Indecipherable" were eventually cracked.

The head of SOE from 1942 to 1943 was Sir Charles Hambro, a prominent city banker. From 1943 Colin Gubbins took over who was more closely allied to traditional military interests.
The head of SOE was known by the moniker CD.
The organisation was run basically on a country by country basis where the heads of the various country sections were as follows:
France ==> Buckmaster (Colonel Maurice James Buckmaster OBE (11th January 1902 - 17 April 1992, Forest Row, Sussex) was the leader of the French section of SOE and was awarded the Croix de Guerre)

France 2 == Eric Piquet-Wicks.
Belgium == Hardy Amies (Sir Edwin Hardy Amies, KVCO (17 July 1909 - 5 March 2003), was a British fashion designer, best known for his official title as dressmaker for Queen Elizabeth II, from her accession to the throne until his retirement in 1989.)
Denmark == Commander R Hollingworth
Holland == Blizzard
Norway == Wilson

But there were many other country sections. Indeed there are those that claim that by 1945 there was not a square inch of the globe untouched by SOE. There are claims that all together at the end of the war SOE controlled (note "controlled") something like one million people.
De-coding work as we said was done mainly by a large number of young ladies based in Station 33, Bletchley Park. Up to June 1942, the month that Marks joined SOE, SIS handled all the radio traffic for SOE. After that time SOE managed its own traffic.

This shift of traffic management to SOE was by no means desirable for SIS and there was no question of mutual co-operation on this issue. The reason for SIS wanting to retain radio traffic control was that they wanted to retain control and overview of all the SOE operations.

Section SOE - N was, according to Marks, more difficult to comprehend and work with than the others. Head of this section was Blizzard. Blizzard's deputy was Captain Bingham and they were assisted by Captain Killick whose real name was Kuypers. On a number of occasions Marks mentioned to Section N that he was concerned about security but he received a very clear message in return which was not to worry about it and mind his own business. The Section N management indicated that they had their own way of doing things.
There was the incident with Jordaan (Trumpet) who clearly instructed by Killick to use his security check.
Even so Marks had the feeling that there was something very wrong with the Dutch connection.
At the beginning of December 1942 a new man arrived in Baker Street. A new Colonel who spend most of his time with Heffer. During his visit there were a number of staff fired due to inefficiency after which he disappeared. On December 16, SOE-N sent a message to say that during the next moon period, 22 - 23 December, 6 more containers would be dropped. In fact 7 were dropped. With the drop was included new poems for Buizer, van Rietschoten and Arie van der Giessen (Cabbage). These were in a small wooden box marked with a cross. The message was confirmed received.

On the 22nd December the strange Colonel came back again. He was now identified as Colonel Nicholls. The story went that he had come to take over as SOE liaison officer.
Pretty soon Leo Marks made a most extraordinary discovery while he was using the WOK's. (Worked Out codes Keys.) He was talking with staff about the frequency of indecipherable messages when he noticed that the messages coming from Holland were NEVER indecipherable. All messages from Holland were always perfect. The question was, did Dutch agents have so more time to encode and send their messages compared to other countries' agents? Were Dutch agents never under as much pressure as other agents? Marks realised that something was wrong. However it was a relief to see that some messages from van Rietschoten were indecipherable. van Rietschoten was the only agent where this was regularly occurring.
Marks then spoke to Bingham and confronted him with some questions. He appeared surprised at these doubts about the absence of errors and insisted that all was fine.
Marks then took his concerns to Heffer who took his observations very seriously. Was it really possible that only the Dutch agents worked without any errors? Was it perhaps possible that the absence of security checks within messages was only due to bad training?
And how much faith could be placed in the guarantees that SOE-N was carefully monitoring their agents? Were these guarantees based on the reporting of captured agents? What indeed about the 4 messages from van Rietschoten and de Haas? Was it possible that they could not answer all these questions because they were aware of the situation? Heffer carefully considered the situation and decided that it was necessary to compile a report for Colonel Nicholls.
Marks also warned his superiors not to discuss this issue with SOE-N because the chances are they would then send a message to their agents demanding to know why they were not using security checks. (This would have disastrous consequences.)

The following establishments, amongst many others,were in use by SOE:

Station 52 -
STS 52 - Thame Park, Oxfordshire - security training for wireless operators

Station 53a -
Station 53a - Grendon Hall in Grendon Underwood, near Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire - signals centre. Now Spring Hill Prison.

Station 53b -
Station 53b - Poundon House, Buckinghamshire, near Bicester - radio listening and transmission station. [6]

Station 53c -
Station 53c - Poundon, Buckinghamshire, near Bicester. - Training American forces in SOE communications techniques. 53b and 53c were physically separate establishments but close to each other. Some of the 53b staff was transferred when 53c opened.

Station 54 -
STS 54a - Fawley Court, Henley on Thames - Signals Section (Wireless Operators)
STS 54b - Belhaven School, Dunbar - Signals Section (Wireless Operators)

Station 9 -
Station IX estate near Welwyn Garden City, which began as a wireless research unit (Special Signals), then became a weapons development & production centre, and after that a research and development station. Now a factory belonging to GlaxoSmithKline.

In February 1943 there was a big change in the organisation of SOE. A new department was established in Norgeby House. This was for Security and Planning. Importantly all incoming radio messages were no longer routed via Dansey but now were passed to their respective country sections via this department and Leo Marks was now in charge of this security section.
During a meeting between Blizzard, Bingham, Killick and Colonel Elder Wills, Bingham said that Willem van der Wilden was in fact Golf, the codename for the WT operator for Lt Gerard van Os (Broadbean).
The others were Jan Kist (Hockey) and Lt Pieter van der Wilden (Tennis). It was in fact Bingham who had been misled by Marks and not for the first time either.

For some time Leo Marks had asked for an appointment with Tiltman, the head of Bletchley Park. Because this had taken so long Marks went to Heffer and asked why had this taken so long.
In Marks' view everything would become much clearer if he could understand the relationship between Tiltman and Nicholls and Tiltman and Menzies. However it was clear that Tiltman was in an awkward position in that Menzies was not keen on SOE. So how could Tiltman, responsible to Menzies, give advice and guidance to SOE. Time marched on with no resolution to this and no changes made.

It was Buizer (Boni) who suggested that van Rietschoten's (Parsnip) messages should be coded and sent using Buizer's code. This would also apply to Potato's traffic. Astonishingly the Dutch section agreed to this and Colonel Ozanne refused to intervene. It was also Buizer who had reported that 2 messages were indecipherable even though when checked it turned out that they were perfectly coded. It seemed most likely now that the Germans were controlling this communication.

In the middle of March 1943 Marks was summoned to Gubbins and Nicholls and was interrogated about the report he had submitted on his suspicions about SOE-N. They also wanted to know who else knew about his allegations. In fact only Heffer was in the know.

At the beginning of May the Executive Council announced that Colonel F.W. Nicholls would take over from Colonel G.D. Ozanne as Director of Signals.

On the 9th July Kale sent a message via Broccoli saying that he was going to come back to England by boat via the Scheld. Drooglever Fortuin (Mongold) would take over affairs in his absence. (According to Giskes) Kale left by boat but he was never seen again. British search and rescue teams looked for him but found no sign of depart.
(Sadly the laws of common sense dictate that if Kale had made it to London then the Englandspiel would be finished so you must fill in the gaps there for yourself.)

At the end of June 1943 Menzies told Gubbins that 8 Dutch agents were held prisoner.
On the 19th July, on an initiative of Marks, Major Adams, Chief of Station 53b sent a message to an agent in Holland which ended with the two letters HH sent together. Instantly the HH came back from Holland. (HH was the Morse moniker for Heil Hitler and was a characteristic message ending for Nazi operators.). The same happened on 19th July

On 23rd August Marks flew out to the Egypt a week after Dansey had gone there in order to sort out operations in the Middle East.
On 4th September war broke out between SOE in Baker Street and the French sections in Dulke Street.
Leo Marks had an interview with Sir Charles Hambro with Gubbins in attendance. Gubbins became CD after Hambro resigned. Gubbins assistant was Colonel Sporborg.
On the 18th December 1943 Dourlein and Ubbink sent a message from Spain.
On the 1st January 1944 Nicholls and his staff moved from Norgeby House to Montagu Mansions a block up from Baker Street.
Bingham, who had been so confident about Dutch security, was sacked from SOE-N and moved to Australia.
Major Dobson from the Belgian section took over SOE-N. The Dutch section become much less gullible and was closely monitored.
On 30th April 1944, unlike previous practise, 5 Dutch agents were dropped blind into Holland. Blind drops are covert operations where no reception committee meets the agents. On the 19th May Swale sends a message with a wrong security check.

Pretty much all the agents who were sent out left from RAF Tempsford, a grass runway in the middle of nowhere about 50 miles north of London. RAF 138 squadron (Special duties) carried out these drops and was specially equipped to take agents to occupied countries.
See page Flights for more details.

Where possible we will add to and amend these pages in future.