London - Baker Street

In July 1940, the british cabinet approved the founding of an organization called Special Operations Executive, SOE. This was an organisation whose main task was to plan and carry out out espionage, intelligence service, sabotage and attacks in areas controlled by Nazi Germany and their allies. SOE agents abroad were eposed to life danger in case they were detected or captured. SOE also had close cooperation and contacts with resistance movements in the occupied countries, except for the Soviet Union. The agents were placed in their respective operational areas via air, sea or land and made contact with other agents or local contact persons. SOE was headquartered at Baker Street 64 in London and it was there that the operations were developed and planned.

To outsiders, few people knew or had any real idea of what was going at no. 64. SOE trained not only British agents but also polish, norwegian and czech agents for missions in their countries. In total, about 13,000 people served in one way or another. However, not all were agents in ”field” but a majority had service ”from home”. Known operations planned and executed by SOE includes the assassination of Himmler’s deputy, SS Gruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich, who was assassinated by Czech agents in Prague in May 1942. British and Norwegian agents attempted to sink the German battleship Tirpitz when it was anchored in Fattenfjord outside Trondheim, Norway. In February 1943, Norwegian agents carried out a sabotage against the Germans’ heavy water production facility in Rjukan, Norway. SOE was disbanded in January 1946.

Current status: Preserved with memorial tablet (2014).

Address: Baker Street 64, Marylebone, London W1U7.

Get there: Metro to Baker Street station.

My comment:

SOE discussed, planned and executed many spectacular plans but one of the most spectacular and ambitious was discussed in 1944, Operation Foxely, the killing of Adolf Hitler. But this plan never left the table cause it was considered impossible to get to him. To execute such a plan SOE needed someone in Hitler’s vicinity, someone close to him, who could gain trust to move freely around him and this was virtually impossible without raising suspicious. Another reason for not killing Hitler was simply the perception that a Germany with Hitler would be easier to defeat than a Germany without Hitler. 

Follow up in books: Mackenzie, W.J.M.: The Secret History of SOE: The Special Operations Executive 1940 – 1945 (2002).