SOE Operations in Africa and the Middle East, by Louise Atherton

SOE Operations in Africa and the Middle East, by Louise Atherton
Subtitled 'A Guide to the Newly Released Records in the Public record Office'

Published by the Public Record Office in 1994, 43 pages. A4 booklet (A13KWSO)

From the introduction: The records of the Special Operations Executive in Africa and the Middle East are the documents released under the open government initiative. The first releases covered the Far East and operations in Scandinavia. These documents are also the first set of SOE records to be available for historical research without an official history having been published first. As such they are one of those rarities of modem research; a cache of unexplored and unknown documents un­touched by historical evaluation.

This booklet offers a introduction to the organisation and content of the records of SOE in Africa and the Middle East. A short introduction to particular countries or subject is followed by a sum­mary of the contents with their references. Abbreviations and codenames commonly encountered in the records are included as separate sections at the end as is a select bibliography. The records are a mixture of telegrams, reports, policy statements and correspondence. Some maps and photographs are also included.

The records of SOE were not kept in a systematic manner. There was no central registry for any of the papers and those held abroad were always subject to loss or destruction in the face of enemy attack. Subsequent weeding exercises and a fire at the main headquarters at Baker Street after the end of the war also led to the loss of many records. It is estimated that approximately 85% of the organisation's records have been lost. The contents include:

1. Introduction
2. The origins and organisation of SOE
3. SOE in Africa and the Middle East
4. Arrangement of the records
5. Relations with other organisations
5.1 The Special Intelligence Service (SIS)
5.2 The Political Warfare Executive (PWE)
5.3 The Office of Strategic Services (OSS)
6. Planning and Operations: Africa
6.1 East Africa
6.1.1 The East African Mission
6.1.2 Abyssinia
6.1.3 Madagascar
6.2 North Africa
6.2.1 The Massingharn Mission
6.2.2 The Torch landings
6.2.3 Egypt
6.2.4 Morocco
6.2.5 Tunisia
6.3 West Africa
6.3.1 Nigeria
6.3.2 Angola
6.3.3 South Africa Mission
7. Planning and Operations: the Middle East
7.1 Iraq
7.2 Persia
8. Planning and Operations: the Mediterranean
8.1 Cyprus
8.2 Malta
9. Planning and Operations: the Near East
9.1 The Middle Eastern Mission
9.2 Palestine
9.3 Syria and the Lebanon
9.4 Turkey and the Balkans
10. Abbreviations and codenames commonly found in the records
11. Select list of Middle East Mission personnel and their codenames, 1941
12. Glossary of operational codenames

The condition of the booklet is generally good. The covers have some minor scuffs and blemishes, and light nibbling and wear along the edges and corners (as well as some colour fading along the right hand edge), but the spine is intact, and all pages are clean, intact, unblemished and bound.