Maldon's No.1 attraction

SOE Section

This Special Operations Executive (SOE) agent has just landed in occupied Europe. Underneath his jump suit, he is dressed in normal civilian clothes.

Note the zips running from top to bottom of his jump suit enabling him to remove it in a few seconds. He would bury the jump suit, helmet and goggles and his parachute where he landed.

This Jump Helmet would have been used during a parachute jump behind German enemy lines during WWII. This particular helmet is white as it was designed for drop zones that were covered in snow. Similar to the SOE jumpsuit and other jump helmets found in the SOE collection, this helmet would also have been buried after a successful jump, hence the slight discoloration from the original white.

Special Operations Executive (SOE) Agents would carry a homing pigeon in this harness inside their jumpsuit. After successfully landing, it would be released to inform the SOE of the agent’s situation, as the agent may have no other means of contact with base.

The inscription on the inside of the harness reads: ‘PG-106/CB, IMPORTANT, DO NOT RETAIN PIGEON IN VEST IN EXCESS OF SIX HOURS’.

Similar to the other armbands in the museum’s Special Operations Executive (SOE) collection, this armband would have been used by SOE agents in the field in Denmark, who collaborated with Danish resistance to collect intelligence and run operations. This armband is made with the national colours of Denmark.

Special Operations Executive (SOE) personnel during WW2 retained their original regimental identity and no formal SOE dress or badges were ever issued. However, this tunic, of the Worcester Regiment displays a tell-tale sign of the owner, Lt Patrick Martin-Smith’s, background. The parachute wings would normally be worn on the shoulder. SOE would wear the wings on their chest.

Lieutenant Patrick Martin-Smith MC, No1 Special Force SOE, served with 12 and 30 Commando until he joined the SOE in 1944. He carried out operations in Northern Italy for 5 months, the mission culminating in a 300 mile march through Italy and Slovenia to return home.

He continued to carry out operations along the way home. For these operations he was awarded the military cross.

After the war, Lt Martin-Smith, joined MI6 and played a significant part in the Cuban Missile Crisis, circulating vital intelligence. He continued his service in MI6 until his retirement in 1970.

This codesheet, as the name suggests, was printed on silk for easy concelament by operatives of the Special operations Executive during World War 2. Messages were encrypted and this codesheet allowed radio transmitter operators to decode the messages that were sent. If this code sheet had ever been used during the war, the one time codesheet should have been destroyed afterwards. It is quite rare to have them intact like this. The Combined MIlitary Services Museum is proud to have such a rare artefact on display for anyone interested in the SOE section during World War 2. Another term for this codesheet was the One-Time Pad (OTP). It is mathematically unbreakable, as long as the users keep to the rules. The sender of the message as well as the recipient would each have the exact same copy of the codesheet.

This helmet is a British made copy of the German M35 Helmet. The helmets were made by a cookware manufacturer and initially supplied to M.I.9. They were used for training purposes in mock interrogations by the Special Operations Executive. They were also used to demonstrate the way to kill German sentries who were wearing the helmet.

The Ministry of Information acquired some of the helmets and used them to make propaganda films. The helmets produced by M.I.9. were differentiated from the German M35 helmet by the fact that the ventilation holes on the side are hand drilled and have no washers smoothing the holes. For more information or to see more of the collection that this helmet is a part of, feel free to contact the Combined MIlitary Services Museum, or come down for a visit! No pre-booking necessary.

This holster in particular belonged to a member of the Special Operations Executive (SOE) Jedburgh / Jed team. The teams comprised of three individuals from the SOE, the Office of Stategic Studies (precusor of the Central Intelligence Agency, CIA), Free French Army or Dutch and Belgians in exile. These teams were dropped into occupied France to help with the D-Day invasion. The Operatives would appear in uniform and use weapons taken from a variety of uniforms.

Therefore, this holster, while not standard SOE issue, was used by an SOE agent in the field. Embossed on the front of the holster is an oval with ‘US’ as it was made by Boyt for the US Navy in 1943. Strapped in the holster is a 1939, Colt Police Positive .38 Special. Both the holster and weapon as seen in this scan are part of the Combined Military Services Museum’s SOE collection.

The No.82 Grenade consisted of an elasticised stockinette cloth bag and an “all ways” fuze that was also used with the No. 69 grenade and No. 73 grenade.

The grenade was an improvised hand-thrown bomb used by the SAS and airborne troops, and was especially suitable for the destruction of parked aircraft or vehicles. An explosive charge was put into the bag. The always fuse would detonate it on sharp impact.

For anti-personnel use, a small amount of plastic explosives, along with shrapnel-like projectiles would be placed in the bag. Against armoured fighting vehicles, the bag could be completely filled with explosives, making an unusually powerful grenade which could only be thrown safely from behind cover. Grenade No. 82 was used until the end of the Second World War and especially during the Battle of Normandy.

This SOE (Special Operations Executive) Helmet would have been used by agents dropping into enemy territory. Similar to Sergeant Scott’s jump helmet which is also part of the museum’s SOE collection here on Sketchfab, the design was lightweight and easy to use.

This helmet and pair of goggles were issued to Sergeant Scott for his drop into Serbia. After any drop, the agent would bury all unnecessary equipment to avoid being spotted, but this helmet was kept and is now on display in the museum.

Sergeant Scott fought as a Special Operations Executive (SOE) Agent in Bulgaria in 1944. He distinguished himself saving their radio from capture during an ambush. During his mission, the team was reduced to eating raw snails to prevent starvation. He was finally captured and tortured by the Gestapo, but refused to give away any information.

Eventually he was forced to make false radio transmissions to his base. Scott managed to alert the base of his capture and great risk, so that his messages were known to be sent to deceive. For his efforts, Scott received the DCM (Distinguished Conduct Medal).

This armband belonged to an operative of the Special Operations Executive who was part of the Polish resistance in World War 2.

This armband was worn by British Special Operations Executive operatives in Norway, who were air dropped in behind German lines to conduct sabotage missions and collect intelligence for the SOE. The armband bears the monogram of King Harkon of Norway.

The British Special Operations Executive (SOE) produced these armbands for the French Forces of the Interior (FFI). This was the French resistance foforce following the Normandy landings.

Throughout German-occupied France, resistance groups actively contributed to the Allied landings in Normandy in June of 1944. These SOE produced armbands identified individuals who were dedicated to the resistance against German occupation and provided the Allies with intelligence regarding German defences and conducted acts of sabotage to inhibit the German advance.