Did any Special Operations Executive (SOE) units stay operational after WWII?

Oct 2015
943
Norway
#1
I'm reading a biography about Ragnar Ulstein, a Norwegian SOE agent and later historian. The SOE, incuding their Norwegian units The Linge Company & "The Shetland gang", was disbanded in 1946. But the Norwegian members never turned in their weapons. 98 year old Ragnar Ulstein still has a pistol, a Stengun and a M1 Carbine locked away at home. The Linge Club had annual meetings until a few years ago (only five are still among us) and they arranged shooting competitions until the members were very old.

What's more relevant to my question is a new piece of information in the book. After the Soviet coup in Czechoslovakia in 1949 the former members had a refresher course in a miltary base. Are there other examples of former SOE units still operating in some capasity after 1946?
 
Last edited:

caldrail

Ad Honorem
Feb 2012
5,303
#2
From our good friend Wikipedia...

Dissolution
In late 1944, as it became clear that the war would soon be over, Lord Selborne advocated keeping SOE or a similar body in being, and that it would report to the Ministry of Defence. Anthony Eden, the Foreign Secretary, insisted that his ministry, already responsible for the SIS, should control SOE or its successors. The Joint Intelligence Committee, which had a broad co-ordinating role over Britain's intelligence services and operations, took the view that SOE was a more effective organisation than the SIS but that it was unwise to split the responsibility for espionage and more direct action between separate ministries, or to perform special operations outside the ultimate control of the Chiefs of Staff. The debate continued for several months until on 22 May 1945, Selborne wrote:

In view of the Russian menace, the situation in Italy, Central Europe and the Balkans and the smouldering volcanoes in the Middle East, I think it would be madness to allow SOE to be stifled at this juncture. In handing it over to the Foreign Office, I cannot help feeling that to ask Sir Orme Sergent [shortly to become Permanent Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs] to supervise SOE is like inviting an abbess to supervise a brothel! But SOE is no base instrument, it is a highly specialized weapon which will be required by HMG whenever we are threatened and whenever it is necessary to contact the common people of foreign lands.​
Churchill took no immediate decision, and after he lost the general election on 5 July 1945, the matter was dealt with by the Labour Prime Minister, Clement Attlee. Selborne told Attlee that SOE still possessed a worldwide network of clandestine radio networks and sympathisers. Attlee replied that he had no wish to own a British Comintern, and closed Selborne's network down at 48 hours' notice.
SOE was dissolved officially on 15 January 1946. Some of its senior staff moved easily into financial services in the City of London, although some of them had not lost their undercover mentality and did little for the City's name. Most of SOE's other personnel reverted to their peacetime occupations or regular service in the armed forces, but 280 of them were taken into the "Special Operations Branch" of MI6. Some of these had served as agents in the field, but MI6 was most interested in SOE's training and research staff. Sir Stewart Menzies, the head of MI6 (who was generally known simply as "C") soon decided that a separate Special Operations branch was unsound, and merged it into the general body of MI6.
Gubbins, the last director, was not given further employment by the Army, but he later founded the Special Forces Club for former members of SOE and similar organisations.