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Secret Intelligence Service - SIS

"In October 1909, following a recommendation by the Committee of Imperial Defence which had been considering the danger to British naval ports from German espionage, Captain Vernon Kell of the South Staffordshire Regiment and Captain Mansfield Cumming of the Royal Navy jointly established the Secret Service Bureau. To meet an additional requirement from the Admiralty for information about Germany's new navy, Kell and Cumming decided to divide their work. Thereafter, "K" was responsible for counter-espionage within the British Isles while "C" was responsible for gathering intelligence overseas." ( - from the MI5 site.)

Kell's division became MI5 while Cumming's became the SIS, or MI6. On the formation of the SOE in 1940, the Secret Intelligence Service feared that its own intelligence-gathering operations would be compromised by SOE's high profile and initially amateurish approach. As a result, a bitter 'turf war' between SIS and the 'Baker Street Irregulars' broke out.

Episode: The French Drop
Link: Foreign and Commonwealth Office Historical Papers - follow the links to the various historical collections.


Scotland Yard - see Police HQ in London


G.E.M. Skues

Foyle says: "Have you been reading Skues?"

George Edward MacKenzie Skues (1858-1949). Reportedly one of the 'greatest fly fishermen that ever lived' and author of The Way of the Trout with a Fly (1921)

Episode: War Games
Link: G.E.M. Skues


Society For the Protection of Science and Learning

Formerly called the Academic Assistance Council and founded by critics of Hitler's wartime persecution policies against Jewish and dissident scientists in order to assist refugee scientists.

Episode: The German Woman


Special Branch

Special Branch is the arm of the Police force that deals with national security matters. Special Branch departments work closely with one another and with MI5, the Security Service.

Link: Metropolitan Police
Episode: Eagle Day


Special Operations Executive - SOE

Anthony Horowitz: "The SOE - or Special Operations Executive - was created by Churchill on 16 July 1940. It was a Top Secret organisation whose aim was to undermine Hitler's Europe by means of sabotage and subversion. Or, as Churchill famously told Hugh Dalton (Minister for Economic Warfare) that day: "And now set Europe ablaze!"

"The early days of SOE, covered by this script, were not immediately successful. Based in country houses around Britain (one at Arisaig in Scotland, another at Beaulieu Manor in the New Forest), they were given very little co-operation. The SOE were frankly considered to be upstarts and amateurs with no experience and no discipline. The tension between Whitehall and the SOE is the inspiration for this story.

"In researching the SOE, I have been struck by the very colourful nature of its operatives (it's no coincidence that Ian Fleming, author of James Bond, was a strong supporter) and by its extraordinary inventiveness. It's a pity there was no space in the script for the submersible canoe, the exploding camel dung or the Spigot Gun…all devised by the scientists at Station 1X.

"Of all the Foyle's War scripts, this one may appear the most fanciful but it's worth stating that every character, every weapon and almost every incident are based on historical fact. Novelists and brothel keepers were sucked into the SOE. Experimental fuses were made out of sugar. A bar was kept deliberately well-stocked to test new agents. Carborundum powder was used to disable cars. And so on…

"For those who are interested, David Stafford's Secret Agent gives a good overview. SOE: the Scientific Secrets by Fredric Boyce has all the gadgets. MRD Foot wrote the classic history of the SOE. And I have quoted directly from the SOE Syllabus, published for the first time in 2001." (see the Reading List in the Behind the Scenes link for more detail on these books.)

Episode: The French Drop
Link: 64 Baker Street
Link: BBC History: Mission Impossible


Spitfire

"There is, without a doubt, that the Supermarine Spitfire was one of the most famous of all World War Two aircraft. It was glamorized by the media, and children young and old would look up towards the skies watching a dogfight or see a squadron of RAF fighters come swarming in towards a formation of German bombers. They would hardly know one aircraft from another, but they would all include a Spitfire in their exclamations. "It's a Spitfire" or "D'yer see that Spitfire shoot that bomber down!" - from the Battle of Britain Historical Society's Spitfire page, see link below.

The Spitfire used in several Foyle's War scenes is a Spitfire Mark V, BM597. Photos from filming can be found at the Historic Aircraft Collection site.

Link: Supermarine Spitfire
Episode: Eagle Day, Among the Few, Enemy Fire


Steep Lane

Steep Lane, Hastings, is actually Croft Road, Hastings. The house used in the series is number 31.

Link: Street Location