Work of covert war time organisation in the spotlight for author’s new book
PUBLISHED: 08:57 30 October 2018 | UPDATED: 08:57 30 October 2018
An author from Newport has released his latest book - a story about the Special Operations Executive (SOE), the British organisation set up in the Second World War to aid resistance groups.
Jeffrey Bines’ book, Poland’s SOE, A British Perspective, is the story of just one section of the organisation in Poland.
Jeffrey became interested in the Polish section of the SOE following research he carried out for an article in his village magazine and, following meetings with former Polish agents, he wrote an account of Operation Freston, the last mission sent by the British to Poland in 1944.
His work, Operation Freston, was published in 1999 and, two years later, Jeffrey received the Gold Cross of Merit from the Polish government, one of the highest civilian declarations in the country, recognising services to the state.
Describing his new book, Jeffrey, a retired airline pilot, writes: “In 1939, Nazi Germany invaded Poland and two days later, Britain and France declared war on the aggressor in support of Poland.
“Exactly how any support would be achieved is not known - perhaps the British thought that the might of her empire would prove threatening enough to initiate a withdrawal of German troops. If this is the case then their thoughts were completely wrong.
“From the start it was obvious that the only possible way of hitting at Germany would be by bombing; even though this in itself would be difficult.
“The French were in a better position to invade Germany itself but the only advance they made into Germany was ordered back. The German invasion of France allowed Britain to send troops in support of the French but, despite some successes, this too proved ineffective and the British army had to be rescued from the very beaches of Dunkirk.
“With what must have looked like a desperate measure, the British ex-Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, in one of the last things he did before his death, wrote a charter for a new organisation designed to provide assistance to resistance groups in the occupied countries.”
It is this organisation that was called the SOE and Jeffrey’s new book, Poland’s SOE, A British Perspective, is about how the organisation operated in Poland.
Copies of the book are available to purchase from Waterstones or ordered into Hart’s Books, Saffron Walden.