Tag archives for France

Into Darkness [WW2 SOE] – June Write Club Story

Into Darkness is the story I wrote for June's Write Club, which is a local group to encourage us to write and share feedback with each other. There were eight stories this month, which is the third time the group has met, but the first time I've managed to join. I did submit a story for the first time, and wrote one for the second time but it got way over the word count and I didn't send it in. I found it a very friendly and supportive group, and it was a pleasure to read the stories that the others had written. The theme was to write something involving a letter. Write Club meets on the second Saturday of the month, with the stories due in a week before that. Right now it's meeting via zoom, although that wasn't…
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Sticky End [Flash Fiction] [WW2 SOE]

Sticky End is my flash fiction for the first round of the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge this year. The first round was last weekend and the group I'm in were assigned a spy genre story to be set in a prison cell and featuring glue. The story had to be under one thousand words and written within 48 hours. (Last year I wrote Down the Harbour and Burning to Leave for the 2017 flash fiction challenge). I spent a bit of Saturday thinking about it, the hard bit for me was trying to work in the glue naturally and believably. Some help from Google showed me that the WW2 Special Operations Executive (SOE) used to include tubes of bostik adhesive in the containers that they dropped to the Jedburgh teams. The bostik was used to camouflage improved explosive devices…
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A Hundred Years Before [Poetry]

War Memorial in Boubers-sur-Canche, France (photo: James Kemp) I wrote the first draft of A Hundred Years Before after visiting a cemetery in France in Boubers sur Canche near Arras. It wasn't one of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemeteries, it was an ordinary French commune cemetery, but it had over a hundred graves of French soldiers killed in action during August 1914. On reflection I realised that British soldiers, and before that the constituent nations fielded soldiers in the same place as the legions of WW1 we're currently remembering publicly. Let's not forget their forebears. A Hundred Years Before Here I stand now, near the border of France and Belgium. The cockpit of Europe. A hundred years before, others stood here. British soldiers who fought, and died, with the French against the Germans on this soil. Le sale Boche.…
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German Penetration of SOE by Jean Overton Fuller [Book Review]

English: Hon. Assistant Section Officer Noor Inayat Khan (code name Madeleine), George Cross, MiD, Croix de Guerre avec Etoile de Vermeil. Noor Inayat Khan served as a wireless operator with F Section, Special Operations Executive. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) The German Penetration of SOE by Jean Overton Fuller My rating: 4 of 5 stars I've been reading about SOE for more than three decades. This is the third book about SOE that I've read so far this year, and it is one of the earliest to point to the man behind the curtain. There is a carefully cultivated view of plucky heroism fighting thuggish Nazis, and prevailing eventually. The reality is clearly quite different. Each of the three books I've read this year has pointed that out (see my reviews of books about Vera Atkins & Nancy Wake). That we know…
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Book Review – Flames in the Field by Rita Kramer

Flames in the Field: Story of Four SOE Agents in Occupied France by Rita Kramer My rating: 3 of 5 stars While this has lots of fascinating information about SOE Operations in France in WW2 it needs a better editor. The nature of the story, primarily of the secret operations in German occupied France in 1943 and the SD penetration of the SOE network, is one of many parallel threads and the uncovering of a mystery. So this makes it hard to just write a linear narrative, and the author has done a pretty good job of writing very readable prose that clearly explains what is going on. However there are a few places where the ordering of the material goes backwards within a few paragraphs and crucial pieces of information are given out of order. The book shows an…
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