Hazardous operations: British SOE agents in Nazi-occupied Greece and the strain of clandestine warfare

Thanasis Gavos   Monday, 8 February 2016; 6:30-8:00pm

During the Second World War, small teams of elite Allied soldiers were dispatched into Occupied Greece to fight alongside local guerrillas. Most were agents of the Special Operations Executive, a secret British organisation tasked with encouraging resistance and carrying out sabotage behind enemy lines. From Crete to Thessaly and Thrace, SOE personnel shared the dangers and straitened circumstances of the Greeks they had come to help – and suffered accordingly. Illustrated with images from declassified files, this lecture discusses the nature and impact of the mental and physical stresses and strains to which SOE agents in Greece were exposed.

Dr Roderick Bailey is a Wellcome Trust Research Fellow at Oxford University’s Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine. A specialist in the study of the Special Operations Executive, he is currently researching the medical aspects of SOE’s work. His particular focus is the processes by which candidates were recruited and screened for this high-risk, high-strain, unconventional employment, the psychological stresses inherent in SOE work, and the procedures in place for diagnosing and treating survivors who returned from the field with psychological problems. His publications include the acclaimed official history of SOE’s war on Mussolini’s Italy, Target Italy (Faber & Faber, 2014), and a study of SOE’s exploits in Axis-occupied Albania,The Wildest Province (Jonathan Cape, 2008).

This event is open to all and free to attend. Booking is not required.

Please direct enquiries to [email protected].

King’s College London,
Anatomy Lecture Theatre (K6.29),
King’s Building, Strand Campus

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