Sarah Helm's A Life In Secrets: Vera Atkins and the Lost Agents of SOE PDF

By Sarah Helm

ISBN-10: 0349119368

ISBN-13: 9780349119366

In the course of global conflict the particular Operation Executive's French part despatched greater than four hundred brokers into Occupied France -- no less than a hundred by no means back and have been pronounced 'Missing Believed Dead' after the battle. Twelve of those have been girls who died in German focus camps -- a few have been tortured, a few have been shot, and a few died within the fuel chambers. Vera Atkins had helped organize those ladies for his or her missions, and whilst the struggle used to be over she went out to Germany to determine what occurred to them and the opposite brokers misplaced in the back of enemy lines.

But whereas the lady who performed this outstanding venture seemed quintessentially English, she was once not anything of the type. Vera Atkins, who by no means married, lined her existence in secret in order that even her closest kinfolk knew virtually not anything of her previous. In A existence IN secrets and techniques Sarah Helm has stripped away Vera's many veils and -- with unparalleled entry to professional and personal papers, and the cooperation of Vera's kin -- vividly reconstructed a rare lifestyles.

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Additional info for A Life In Secrets: Vera Atkins and the Lost Agents of SOE

Sample text

87 On 18 October he travelled to Hamburg to meet his case officer, ‘Richard’, who handed him the then considerable sum of £500. While there, Parrott was extensively debriefed by gunnery, torpedo, naval engineering and intelligence experts, and agreed to continue work as an agent. He was arrested on his return home, found guilty in January 1913 of breaking the Official Secrets Act and sentenced by Mr Justice Darling to four years’ hard labour. 88 Parrott’s recruiter, Karl Hentschel, and his wife, meanwhile, had disappeared to Australia, but, after their marriage (perhaps unsurprisingly) broke up, they returned separately to Britain in September 1913.

93 In May 1912, on Steinhauer’s recommendation, Schroeder was given a formal contract by ‘N’ and a regular salary of £15 a month. The two men became close friends. One undated letter from Steinhauer (probably among those intercepted by Kell’s Bureau) concludes: ‘You are always welcome to us. ’ From June 1912, Schroeder sent regular fortnightly reports to Berlin, mostly via Wilhelm Kronauer, one of ‘N’s’ forwarding agents on whom Kell had obtained a Home Office Warrant. Just as he began sending the reports, Melville’s assistant detective, John Regan, disguised as a sailor, succeeded in befriending Schroeder, who, he reported, talked freely (if inaccurately) about how German money was being used to foment a British revolution.

48 Like Holstein, a majority of those who received Steinhauer’s letters had no intention of responding to his ill-conceived intelligence cold-calling. Churchill added a major weapon to Kell’s armoury by greatly simplifying the interception of suspects’ correspondence. Hitherto individual warrants signed by the Home Secretary had been required for every letter opened. The Post Office had always held that it was very undesirable to shake public confidence in the security of the post. 49 Had the Post Office view prevailed, Kell would have been deprived of what soon became his main counter-espionage tool.

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A Life In Secrets: Vera Atkins and the Lost Agents of SOE by Sarah Helm


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