The undercover campaign of the Special Operations Executive in the Balkans during World War II was of great significance to the Allies. The campaign involved constant movement and activity, severe hardship and privation, and ever-present danger from the Axis troops as the SOE established relations with partisan forces and sought to establish control of a complex and vital theatre of war. This insider's description of the SOE's foundation and structure is coupled with accounts of many of its wartime missions.
Sir Peter Wilkinson served under the legendary Major General Sir Colin Gubbins in the Auxiliary Units and SOE. He commanded the Special Force (SOE) from 1943-45. He joined the Diplomatic Service and served in Vienna, Washington and Bonn and was Ambassador in Saigon and Vienna. In 1972 he became Coordinator of Intelligence at the Cabinet Office.
Early years; school; holidays with my aunts; holidays with my parents; Cambridge; regimental life, 1935-37; Czechoslovakia, 1938-39; summer interlude, 1939; Poland, 1939; France, 1940; auxiliary units; the special operations executive (SOE), 1940-41; Crete, 1941; Polish frustrations, Heydrich's assassination and the formation of the Jedburgh parties; the "Muddle East", 1943; a safe landing, December 1943; Tito approves; the journey North, Christmas 1943; the journey North - the third stage; a short walk in the Third Reich; the submarine fiasco; the long march south; return to base; summer 1944 - "Reculer pour mieux sauter"; Alfgar and Charles; the Drau crossing; the end of Clowder; no.6 Special Force; my marriage; the last round-up; Austria - the end of the road.