Rée, Harry Alfred (Oral history)

Catalogue number
  • 8720
Production date
Subject period
  • whole: Duration 90, Number Of Items 3
Alternative names
  • object name: Oral history
  • object category: IWM interview


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Object description

British officer served with Special Operations Executive in France, 1943; internee in Switzerland and Spain, 1943-1944; escaped to GB, 1944

Content description

REEL 1 Background in Manchester, GB, 1914-1939: family; education; employment; rejection of idea of becoming conscientious objector. Aspects of period as officer with Special Operations Executive in GB, 1941-1942: background as officer with Royal Artillery and Field Security prior to recruitment; security exercises; request to move from security to active service; attitude towards Second World War and Nazi regime; prior recollection of amusing aspects of Royal Artillery training; question of left wing elements in Special Operations Executive. Recollections of period as officer with Special Operations Executive in France, 1942-1943: attempts to parachute into Clermont-Ferrand area, 2/1943-4/1943; successful parachute drop near Tarbes; hiding in woods; making contact with Resistance in Tarbes; reasons for change in objective of mission; contacting Maquis in Jura; opinion of Resistance; Robert Peugeot’s hearing of authentication of Ree via BBC broadcast; hearing coded news of birth of daughter via BBC broadcast; various sabotage activities. REEL 2 Continues: sabotage of German barge; reactions of French population to RAF raids; proposals to sabotage Peugeot factory; background to fleeing to Switzerland. Aspects of period as internee in Switzerland, 1943: internment; opening up communications channels via British Embassy; requesting cessation of RAF raids on Peugeot factory in favour of sabotage; amusing story of Russian internee’s reaction to reading bible story. Aspects of period as officer with Special Operations Executive in France, 1943: his return to France; sabotage of transformer house at Peugeot factory, 11/1943; refusal of French Resistance worker to betray Ree; story of his fight with Gestapo agent, 11/1944. Aspects of period as internee in Switzerland and Spain and escape to GB, 1943-1944: escape to Switzerland; hospitalisation in Switzerland, 12/1943-5/1944; journey from Switzerland to Spain; conditions in Miranda del Ebro Internment Camp, Spain; return to GB, 7/1944. REEL 3 Continues: reporting to Maurice Buckmaster on return to GB. Aspects of period as officer with F Section, Special Operations Executive at Headquarters, Special Operations Executive in Baker Street, London, GB, 1944: work as liaison officer for South East France; story of his recruitment of Francis Cammaert’s recruitment to Special Operations Executive; prior recollection of taking drawings of V2 weapons from contact at Peugeot factory; memories of Andre Simon; prior recollections of conditions in Miranda del Ebro Internment Camp, Spain, 1943. Aspects of period as officer with Special Operations Executive in France, 1943: attitude of French civilians towards war; story of eating in house of Vichy French supporter; opinion of Milice; relations with French Resistance; opinion of impact of Special Operations Executive in France; sabotage of German barge with limpet mines; comparison of Maquis in Jura and Savoie; stories illustrating narrow escapes he had in Occupied France; disorganised nature of Maquis in Jura; his attitude to being dropped into France.

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