Captain Les Fernandez - All around Action Man and Man of Action. RIP.
This kind of work makes James Bond a bit new age. The SOE agents made a big dent in Hitlers plan to occupy parts of Europe through ingenuity and specialised training.
In mansions that stretched from the Highlands to the New Forest SOE agents were taught how to kill with their bare hands; how to disguise themselves; how to derail a train; and even how to get out of a pair of handcuffs with a piece of thin wire and a diary pencil.
Fernandez saw his fair share of action starting with his first mission. After being dropped in behind enemy lines and after a few days reconnoitring the area, he organised regular supply drops of arms and explosives and met Cammaerts, the regional commander, who impressed upon him the importance of destroying the road over the Col de Larche.
By the end of August the weak detachment of the French Forces of the Interior (FFI) in the area were faced with a considerable German force, and the local commander ordered a withdrawal. Fernandez, however, with the help of some partisans, set about filling a culvert under the road in the Col de Larche with explosives. It was a laborious task, but effective: the road was blown up and remained blocked for two years.
The work of the SOE is being recognised now over 60 years after much of their work was done. Even so most of the documentation associated with their work is still top secret.
Glad to do a little to recognise their work.