Catalogue description Special Operations Executive: Far East: Registered Files

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Details of HS 1
Reference: HS 1
Title: Special Operations Executive: Far East: Registered Files

This series contains material relating to the organisation, administration and activities of the Special Operations Executive in the Far East during the Second World War. It includes sections on Burma, Siam, French Indo-China, Malaya, China, Japan, India, Australia and the Dutch East Indies. It also includes files from the C and AD/SI series and papers on black market commodity and currency operations and currency counterfeiting.

Date: 1940-1947
Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English
Physical description: 350 file(s)
Administrative / biographical background:

Shortly after the Special Operations Executive (SOE) was set up to engage and harass the enemy in Europe, preparations for guerrilla war in the Far East were begun and terms of reference for an SOE group in Singapore were settled by SOE Headquarters in November 1940. Known as the Oriental Mission (OM) it was to operate under the C-in-C Far East. A Singapore headquarters under a civilian, Valentine Killery, was established in May 1941, but his operating methods met with strong objections from the local military authorities, and this together with the rapidity of the Japanese advance meant that it was short-lived and its achievements relatively limited. It was wound up in mid 1942.

A separate special operations organisation in India was established in May 1941, initially to cover countries to the north and west. It was expanded eastwards after the Japanese invasion brought India into the war zone and the OM had folded up. The India Mission, known subsequently as Force 136, under Colin Mackenzie, operated on the authority of the Viceroy and the C-in-C. Although the directive followed the lines of that for SOE operations in Europe, the Far Eastern theatre had nothing in common with that of Europe, either in local (native) perceptions of who constituted the enemy, or in the vast size and physical character of the territory to be covered and its remoteness from London. Its operations were therefore of a very different nature.

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