Special Operations Executive
Station X: Bletchley Park
In the lead up to the Second World War, Department EH (after its headquarters, Electra House), a war propaganda unit, a section of The Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) called Section D, and a third unit renamed from GS(R) to MI R, were all engaged in related covert operations and research.
Operations were co-ordinated and combined to form The Special Operations Executive in 1940.
Its main purposes was to carry out espionage, sabotage and reconnaissance in the occupied areas of Europe and to help resistance movements on those and other countries, during the fight against Germany and its allies during the Second World War.
It was a Top Secret section of the war effort and the few that knew of its existence referred to it as ‘The Baker Street Irregulars’, ‘Churchill’s Secret Army’, or the ‘Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare’.
Its activities often took place under more mundane descriptive operational titles such as ‘The Joint Technical Board’ and the ‘Inter Service Research Bureau’.
The organisation had 13,000 men and women under its command and helped supply or supported up to a million during the conflict.
There were over 70 SOE country houses throughout Britain during the Second World War. Comically nicknamed the ‘Stately ‘Omes of England’, the buildings included garages, cottages and large country mansions.
The Experimental Stations that dealt with Storage, production and development, but excluding training included the following:
Station VI - Bride Hall. Near Ayot St Lawrence, Hertfordshire (Weapons Acquisition)
Station VIIa - Bontex Knitting Mills. Beresford Avenue, Wembley (Wireless Section: Production)
Station VIIb - Yeast-Vite Factory. Whippendell Road, Watford (Wireless Section: Packing & Dispatch)
Station VIIc - Allensor's Joinery Factory. King George's Avenue, Watford (Wireless Section: Research)
Section VIId - Kay's Garage, Bristol Street. Birmingham (Wireless Section: Production)
Station IX - The Frythe Estate. Near Welwyn Garden City (Wireless: Research; Special Signals) Then (Weapons Development & Production)
Station IXa - P O Box 1. Ashford, Middlesex (Submersibles work at Staines reservoir)
Station IXc - Fishguard Bay Hotel. Goodwick, Pembrokeshire (Submersibles work in Fishguard Bay)
Station X – Bletchley Park. Bletchley, Milton Keynes (Code & Cypher School)
Station XI - Old Gorhambury House. Near St Albans, Hertfordshire (Accommodation)
Station XII - Aston House. Near Stevenage, Hertfordshire (Production, Packaging & Dispatch)
Station XIV – Briggens. Near Roydon, Essex (Forgery Section)
Station XV - The Thatched Barn. Barnet bypass at Borehamwood, Hertfordshire (Camouflage Section)
Station XVa - 56 Queen's Gate. Kensington, London SW7 (Camouflage Section: Prototypes)
Station XVb - The Demonstration Room. Natural History Museum, London (Camouflage Section: Training & Briefing)
Station XVc - 2-3 Trevor Square. Knightsbridge, South Kensington (Camouflage Section: Photographic & Make-Up)
Station XVII – Brickendonbury. Brickendon, Hertford (Explosive Trials)
Three of the Best books about the work of The SOE