Serendipity and Special Operations Europe

I was googling Cammaerts (I am reading an academic article about social movements) and I stumbled across something far more interesting –

Francis Charles Albert Cammaerts, DSO (16 June 1916 – 3 July 2006) was an outstanding Special Operations Executive (SOE) agent who organised French Resistance groups to sabotage German communications in occupied France.

and so on to

Maria Krystyna Janina Skarbek,[1] GM, OBE, Croix de guerre (Polish pronunciation: [krɨˈstɨna ˈskarbɛk]; 1 May 1908[1][2] – 15 June 1952) was a Polish Special Operations Executive (SOE) agent. She became celebrated especially for her daring exploits in intelligence and irregular-warfare missions in Nazi-occupied Poland and France.

She became a British agent months before the SOE was founded in July 1940 and was one of the longest-serving of all Britain’s wartime women agents. Her resourcefulness and success have been credited with influencing the organization’s policy of recruiting increasing numbers of women.[3]

In 1941, she began using the nom de guerre Christine Granville, which she legally adopted on naturalisation as a British citizen in February 1947.[4]

Although there is no reliable evidence that she was a friend of Ian Fleming,[5] Skarbek is said, by some, to have been the inspiration for Bond girls Tatiana Romanova and Vesper Lynd.

and via other pages to

Cecile Pearl Witherington Cornioley CBE (24 June 1914 – 24 February 2008) was a World War II SOE agent born in Paris to British parents.

And, of course, it appears MI6 were sacrificing SOE’s F-section agents, via a double/triple agent guy… Still, “can’t make an omelette” and all that…

There’s a thread in Marge Piercy’s “Gone to Soldiers” on the work in Occupied France by the “Jedburgh Teams” – the novel is worth a read!

For the reading list
Jackdaws by Ken Follett


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