Although SOE agents were inevitably reliant on Resistance forces to be effective, few of the accounts in Forgotten Voices give any sense of the local people who were involved, or of the extent to which SOE actually controlled them. The SOE circuit organizer Ben Cowburn is one of the few to attempt to explain why SOE had such an aura with the Resistance. He emphasizes the importance of radio, of concrete proof of contact with London – he could get the BBC to broadcast a phrase given by his Resistance contact, and even more important, summon up RAF supply drops. This, he convincingly argues, was a real “manifestation of power: this thing had come through, it had roared through the German defences and everything, and it was they that had ordered it. And you were somebody from then on”.
Just a bunch of chaps trying to save the world from evil. Just a spot of bother on the continent.