Discussion in 'Top Secret' started by Jonathan Ball, Nov 8, 2011.

  1. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    I'm beginning to really enjoy collecting the crop of books published recently by authors such as Nick Rankin and Ben Macintyre encompassing Cryptography, deception, the XX, Special Operations and the sheer intuitive brilliance of the fine young men and women employed by the likes of SOE, PWE, GC&CS etc in WW2.

    Could anyone recommend any further reading or good websites etc on this subject so I can further my interest in this part of the war?

  2. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Lee has published a few books on Pys-Ops.
  3. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    Try MRD Foot's History of the SOE; there's also older goodies like Morpurgo's biography of Barnes Wallis, or R.V Jones' Most Secret War for "real" boffins LOL Didn't Michael Bentine write a memoir about his wartime boffin days?
  4. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey

    Lee has published a few books on Pys-Ops.

    Andy, I think I should employ you as my agent :D Glad to see you got home OK from Kew today.

    Jonathan, a few excellent books on PWE:

    The Secret History of PWE by David Garnett (St Ermin's print of PWE's official history)

    The Fourth Arm by Charles Cruickshank (A more measured history of PWE, published before the official history was released)

    The Major Developments in Political Warfare Throughout the War, 1938-45 by Y M Streatfield

    Propaganda in War by Michael Balfour (propaganda generally)

    On PWE Black Propaganda:

    Black Boomerang by Sefton Delmer (Delmer was head of black propaganda in WWII)

    The Black Game by Ellic Howe (Howe was PWE's forger/print manager for black propaganda)

    The Black Art by me (An extensive catalogue of Howe's handiwork and continues on from The Black Game using the newly released files)

  5. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

  6. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    Lee has published a few books on Pys-Ops.

    I've got my eye on the e-books. They will go very nicely with the Touchpad I'm hopefully getting for Xmas!!
  7. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    A piece in today's Guardian on Alan Turing...

    In the 1950s I was an athlete. Those were the days before joggers clogged the highway, so it was unusual for me to see another runner when I was training. We fell into the habit of meeting up and pounding the miles together for company.
    He was stocky, barrel-chested, witha high-pitched, donnish voice and the aerodynamics of a brick. He was funny and witty and he talked endlessly, but I understood very little of what he was saying, and it became clear that he ran in order to think. He seemed to be obsessed by mathematics and biology. That much I could work out.
    We had one thing in common: a fascination with Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, especially the transformation of the Wicked Queen into the Witch. He used to go over the scene in detail, dwelling on the ambiguity of the apple, red on one side, green on the other, one of which gave death. We had both been traumatised by Walt.
    On one occasion he asked me whether, in my opinion as a classical linguist, artificial intelligence was possible. After a couple of miles of silence I said that, in my opinion, it was not. And that was that.
    He killed himself when an ignorant and uncouth judge gave him the choice of a prison sentence or chemical castration; and I was overwhelmed by fury at the salacious, gloating humiliation imposed on my friend, and by a sense of guilt that I did not, could not, help him; which lasted for decades, and was made only worse when the Official Secrets Act revealed his true heroism.
    He died of cyanide poisoning. By his body was an apple, partly eaten. The apple was not tested for cyanide. His name was Alan Turing.

    Alan Turing by Alan Garner | Books | The Guardian
  8. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

  9. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    I can recommend Station XII by Les turner about one of SOE's Scientific Research Stations and SOE The Scientific Secrets by Frederic Boyce and Douglas Everett
    Jonathan Ball likes this.
  10. geoff501

    geoff501 Achtung Feind hört mit

    Two essential books, from the boffin aspect:

    Codebreakers: The Inside Story of Bletchley Park: F. H. Hinsley, Alan Stripp: Books

    Most Secret War (Penguin World War II Collection): R.V. Jones: Books

    Reginald Jones was nothing less than a genius. And his appointment to the Intelligence Section of Britain's Air Ministry in 1939 led to some of the most astonishing scientific and technological breakthroughs of the Second World War.
    In Most Secret War he details how Britain stealthily stole the war from under the Germans' noses by outsmarting their intelligence at every turn. He tells of the 'battle of the beams'; detecting and defeating flying bombs; using chaff to confuse radar; and many other ingenious ideas and devices.
    Jones was the man with the plan to save Britain and his story makes for riveting reading.
    About the Author
    Reginald Victor Jones was an English physicist and scientific military intelligence expert who played an important role in the defence of Britain in the Second World War. He died in 1997.
  11. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    Thanks chaps. All added to the ever expanding 'to read' list I've got. :)
  12. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey

  13. micke

    micke Junior Member

    GCHQ by Nigel West is a good read and so is the Puzzle Palace by James Bamford, if you are interested in communications and cryptography and such.
    Jonathan Ball likes this.
  14. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    The R V Jones documentary was produced by Yorkshire TV.

    Jones was deeply involved in the work and intelligence of TRE establishment and its successor,the Royal Radar Establishment at Malvern.As a member of the scientific and technical department of MI 6,he played a prominent role in identifying the German V1 and V2 programmes.There is much recorded of his work along with others to counter the weapons.

    One of the little snippits picked up by Ultra was a administrative message sent by Luftwaffe clerk to their experimental stations outlining the proceedure for obtaining petrol for scientists through their ration system.At the top of the list was Peenemunde and when this intercept was shown to Jones,this convinced him that the experimental base at Peenemunde was genuine.

    Of course there was also other intelligence inputs such as that from the air,which proved beyond doubt, the location at Peenemunde was an important centre for the Luftwaffe research.

    Jones believed that the Germans would use their radar resources to plot the weapon tests and so alerted Bletchley to look out for any evidence that radar companies were being moved up to the Baltic coast.When the rocket testing took place,the companies so contracted,monitored their performance but better still broadcast the performance in simple code.From these intercepts,Jones was able to obtain detailed information on the performance of the rockets and pinpoint the launch sites.

    Good well laid out technically,one of the interesting facts was his discussion with Martini,head of the German signals intelligence service after the war.Martini bemoaned the fact that the British had the advantage in radar technology throughout the war because Hitler would not authorise R&D in electronic technology unless it gave short term gains.Martini stated that this had a bearing on the outcome of the war.
    PsyWar.Org likes this.
  15. geoff501

    geoff501 Achtung Feind hört mit

    Towards the end of the book, Jones worked for a while with Francis Crick. In a conversation, Jones said to Crick that he thought genetic information could only be stored at a molecular level as this is the only way such a quantity of information could be held. Crick was a physicist working for the Admiralty, he soon left to work on biology and eventually got a joint Nobel prize for DNA. Jones was an extremely intelligent scientist - we owe him a lot.
  16. urqh

    urqh Senior Member

    GCHQ by Nigel West is a good read and so is the Puzzle Palace by James Bamford, if you are interested in communications and cryptography and such.

    Puzzle Palace is a good one, as is the earlier Beneath the city streets and the unsinkable aircraft carrier to bring us up to dates into 70's 80's 90's and onwards
    The Secret Wireless War is a must for any serious study that does not just want to know of Bletchley and Enigma.
    RV.Jone's book on the secret war is invaluable but deep in parts.

    I'm luck enough to live in the Malvern area. Lots of interesting stuff still around and lots have matured into present day technology. Lots of closed but not closed units still abound.

    The v weapons discovery that threw Whitelhall and others into action and necissated move of Foreign nation broadcasts and listening section out of BBC Wood Norton to make room for others is fascinating in its own right. The Hut at Malvern still stands, lonely and folorn, where the first inckling of anything V weapon amiss was heared over the air waves. Lots of Y station stuff in this area, Alcester was last field I visited where a station set up in early days of war. A few locally produced books on Worcester at war are illuminating and well illustrated, including Malvern, Defford etc, Pershore, Throckmorton, GCI Conderton etc. Also includes the 1940 defence lines and plans. As well as the locations to be used as raised in other threads on Royalty moves etc. A living history area to live in and explore.
  17. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    RAF Defford was the local airfield from where quite a number of radar experiments were conducted from.

    After Bruneval,it was realised that Swanage was not the ideal place for TRE and another location that would be "safe behind the lines" was considered.Malvern was chosen and became the home of the RRE, the successor to the TRE.

    Could have ended up at Malvern.The establishment were recruiting RAF radar technicians on demob in my time.
  18. geoff501

    geoff501 Achtung Feind hört mit

    Could have ended up at Malvern.The establishment were recruiting RAF radar technicians on demob in my time.

    ...They turned me down (Twice!) Their loss :lol:
  19. geoff501

    geoff501 Achtung Feind hört mit

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