Original British WWII Special Operations Executive Wrist Compass by Barker & Son
Original Item: Only One Available. Complete with original issue khaki web wrist strap that one very rarely encounters. Only 1.5" across this is small and easily transportable. Steel construction with stamped No 1109/B on the underside of the case housing. In fully working order and as rugged as the day it was first issued over 70 years ago.
Issued to British Commandos and members of the SOE (Special Operations Executive).
The Special Operations Executive (SOE) was a British World War II organization. Following Cabinet approval, it was officially formed by Minister of Economic Warfare Hugh Dalton on 22 July 1940, to conduct espionage, sabotage and reconnaissance in occupied Europe (and later, in occupied Southeast Asia also) against the Axis powers, and to aid local resistance movements.
It was initially also involved in the formation of the Auxiliary Units, a top secret "stay-behind" resistance organization which would have been activated in the event of a German invasion of Britain.
Few people were aware of SOE's existence. To those who were part of it or liaised with it, it was sometimes referred to as "the Baker Street Irregulars", after the location of its London headquarters. It was also known as "Churchill's Secret Army" or the "Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare". Its various branches, and sometimes the organization as a whole, were concealed for security purposes behind names such as the "Joint Technical Board" or the "Inter-Service Research Bureau", or fictitious branches of the Air Ministry, Admiralty or War Office.
SOE operated in all countries or former countries occupied by or attacked by the Axis forces, except where demarcation lines were agreed with Britain's principal Allies (the Soviet Union and the United States). It also made use of neutral territory on occasion, or made plans and preparations in case neutral countries were attacked by the Axis. The organization directly employed or controlled just over 13,000 people, about 3,200 of whom were women.
After the war, the organization was officially dissolved on 15 January 1946. A memorial to SOE's agents was unveiled on the Albert Embankment by Lambeth Palace in London in October 2009.
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