The following lesson plans look at the activities involved in the Secret War and particularly those that involved signing the Official Secrets Act. Many of the roles involved in these lesson plans were top secret and people only started talking about them in the 1970s. This plan details the roles involved in the Secret War overseas, with a particular emphasis on German occupied Europe. During the Second World War, all of the armed forces, and many civilians, had to keep their work secret.
The Secret Service Bureau was established in 1909 in response to the growing armament of Germany. MI6, also known as the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), gathered intelligence from overseas. Also known as the Radio Security Service (RSS), they monitored radio traffic from the Axis armed forces. All signals intelligence was sent to the headquarters of the School at Bletchley Park, known by its codename of Station X was also involved in crypto analysis or code breaking.
The Second World War gave the intelligence agencies valuable information on how to protect Britaina€™s national security, all through the Cold War and up to the present day.
I thought oh dear Ia€™m going to go back and Ia€™m really going to get it from him I guess.
Due to the close proximity of Britain to Nazi occupied Europe, it was easy to listen into enemy radio and signals. The radio traffic was often in code and an important part of the process was to decipher these codes. The stories of the Special Operations Executive agents are well known, but behind the scenes an army of people in Britain helped to prepare them for a life undercover.
Just as it was important to listen to enemy radio traffic, so they were also listening to Allied radio traffic. The COSSAC was General Sir Frederick Morgan and I was on his staff with 2 other Wrens, also Wren ratings, and 3 WAAFs, and 3 ATS. As we have seen on the Home Front, it was very important to find out the plans and intentions of the enemy.
For this plan we are going to look at two of the clandestine activities in Europe and the wider world. During the Second World War, one of the major hazards of flying over Nazi occupied Europe was being shot down.
The Special Operations Executive (SOE), operated in many of the countries occupied by the Axis forces. There have been numerous films and books telling the heroic exploits of Allied escapers and secret agents parachuted into Nazi occupied territory.
The people living in Nazi occupied Europe ran a great risk in becoming members of the resistance or assisting Allied personnel.
I remember on one occasion we landed alongside a river on a stretch of flat ground with forest nearby and the forest was good because the resistance people were hiding in the forest and they could come out when the plane come down or theya€™d come out and give signals to the pilot that it was safe or not safe to land there. One of the problems of individuals not talking about their wartime work for 30 years or more is the reliability of memory. One of the main roles of oral history is understanding more about the context of an historical event and how the ordinary men and women experienced some of the major events of the war. Nothing is more mysterious than the nocturnal habits of a pregnant woman (I say in my best Discovery Channel voice).
While I'm working that out, I suddenly realize that I have to go much worse than I first thought.
All part of nature's lovely way of getting me ready to become one with the owls, raccoons and infomercials. This plan also shows how the lessons learnt from clandestine activities in the Second World War continued to be useful in the postwar period.


During the Second World War, MI5 dealt with espionage and the capture of enemy agents, interception of German and Italian communications and the feeding of misinformation to Germany through the use of double agents. Its mode of operation was subversion which it split into four categories: damage enemy material and communications, strain the enemya€™s resource of man-power, undermine the enemya€™s morale and finally, raise morale of the people of Occupied countries.
Being able to intercept enemy codes gave the government and the armed forces valuable information.
But instead of that he gave me a big brown package, which I gather was my things, sent me off somewhere else to meeta€¦ to see a Majora€¦ a Colonel, a full Colonel, I have no idea why. However the First World War opened many new opportunities, seeing the first women police officers for example. Therefore much of the clandestine work undertaken in the Second World War was conducted on the Home Front. Alan Turing, an academic at Bletchley Park invented the a€?bombea€? machine that was able to decipher the Enigma code, one of the most used codes by the German armed forces. Training schools were set up to teach agents how to act like a spy and how to destroy all manner of machines. They told me that I was going to be an interceptor of German naval radio signals and I would do a very intense, short training course to see whether I would be capable of writing down these signals accurately at a house in Wimbledon called Southmead.
If they were not initially captured, many tried to flee across Europe to the neutral countries of Switzerland, Sweden, Spain or Portugal.
Many decades of not talking or thinking about the past, can make accurate recollection difficult. The shushing wakes up our other Basset Hound, and then they're both joining me in the bathroom.
There is no telling how many rolls of toilet paper a pregnant lady goes through in 40 weeks! There were ten by the end of the First World War and seventeen by the end of the Second World War.
The present day Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) was created from the work at Bletchley Park. He asked me all sorts of peculiar questions including things about sailing and all that, which Ia€™d never done and oh, it was quite difficult.
Women often accompanied armies and would perform a support role, washing, cooking and nursing. The First World War also saw the establishment of the Womena€™s Royal Navy Service (WRENS), the Womena€™s Army Auxiliary Corp (WAAC) and the Womena€™s Royal Air Force (WAAF). Marge Arburya€™s skills in Morse Code meant she had to change direction and Moyra Smiley became one of the first female NCOs. However the world is very different today, how do you think that the Second World War changed the perception of womena€™s role in the workforce? So called Y Stations were established across the UK to intercept signals and radio traffic, they were used by the armed forces as well as the intelligence services. Of course the work was never completed, as soon as one code was cracked, another would be invented. Replica clothing and paperwork were created and a whole network of radio operators, clerks and others would all be employed to try and keep them alive. One of the biggest military secrets of the war was the lead up to D-Day, it was important that not only the landing site but the invasion date was kept secret and even those working on the plans were kept in the dark. They were being changed all the time because these were the orders for the Navy, the Army and the Air Force. The way they ran it was that Lieutenant, Freddie Marshal, who was a Royal Navy Officer would sit in one room, and he had fluent German and he would read out the kind of signals that we would be hearing. Now the volume of messages was enormous, we were right down with Enigma machines, right down to quite small army units, certainly longa€¦ way below battalion and uh so there were thousands ofa€¦ of Enigma machines in operation, therefore thousands of messages going all day long for which we needed thousands of a€?interceptorsa€™, people who understood Morse and could listen to ita€?. This could take the form of keeping in radio contact with London, supplying armaments or conducting sabotage.


While most Allied prisoners spent the war in Prisoner of War camps and were treated relatively well, in March 1944, 76 Allied airmen escaped from the prisoner of war camp Stalag Luft III in what became known as the Great Escape. If they had been caught, they may have been tortured during interrogation and if they survived, sent to a concentration camp. It was only with the publication of several books in the 1970s that the secrets of the War were finally revealed. Summarise it and tell your classmates or write a short report on why this interests you and how the book or film has added to your knowledge. I was getting to the bottom of the barrel and I thought well I didna€™t say, I said no but I know what hea€™sa€¦ I said a€?well why do you want to know about sailing?a€™ a€?Oh we thought you might understand coastlines and things like thata€™.
The Female Auxiliary Nursing Yeomanry (FANY) was established in 1907 to assist the civil and military authorities in times of emergency.
Women were allowed to choose if they wanted to go in the armed forces, the Land Army or industry. Some of this work was also performed by Voluntary Interceptors, amateur radio enthusiasts who were given a small section of the airwaves to cover. We sat in another room and wrote down as accurately as we could, every single sound that we heard.
The help of local people as seen by the case of Bob Frost below was vital in helping Allied airmen escape. Of the 73 recaptured, 50 were murdered on the orders of Hitler in contravention of the Geneva Convention.
One of the problems of oral histories, is that the stories can be told so many times, that the story is honed over time and can be influenced by books they have read or films they have seen since the war.
So that was good because Ia€™d been to Jersey and we used to go all along the coastline there and I loved it.
During the two world wars, they provided support to the armed forces and the female agents of the Special Operations Executive used the FANY uniform as cover. In the First World War, some had played a supportive role as drivers, orderlies and clerks. The information collected was sent to the mysteriously named Box 25, Barnet, before being sent off to Station X (Bletchley Park).
Then after that was finished, the invasion of Sicily, we'd done the operation orders for that, after that I was transferred from the naval floor to the first floor which was COSSAC's headquarters.
And the speed increased over the two weeks and if at the end of that time you were up to speed and he thought that you could deal with periods of very intense activity or long spells of boredom then you were selected". For example, there was an established resistance in France that the agents could contact, but in Germany itself, there was no organised resistance and much more suspicion so other types of activity had to be conducted. The Second World War was the first time women were recruited into the armed forces for their intellectual and practical skills. Up to the few months before D-Day we did extraordinary hours because they were running out of time. However some veterans still think that they cana€™t talk about their wartime role and there is a danger that their stories may be lost. Alongside the vital clerical and domestic roles, women listened and deciphered code and messages, manned anti-aircraft guns, flew planes and became agents in Nazi occupied countries.
Bletchley Park was part of the Government Code and Cipher School, which was responsible for signals and ciphers. COSSAC stands for, Chief of Staff to Supreme Allied Commander Designate, because at that time Eisenhower had not been appointed.



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