Much of my recent research and event activity has been connected with The Secret WW2 Learning Network, an educational charity established in 2014 by Martyn Bell (former Chair) and Martyn Cox. In 2016 I became a Trustee of this organisation which has the aim of creating greater public awareness of the contributions and experiences of the men and women who took part during the Second World War in Allied special operations, intelligence gathering and resistance. Much of the charity's activity centres on Britain and France, but I have also covered SOE, SAS/SBS and M.I. 9 training and operations relating to Israel (formerly Mandate Palestine), Belgium, Poland, Burma (Myanmar), Norway, Demark, Hungary, Australia, Italy, Lebanon, Turkey, Greece, Slovenia (formerly Yugoslavia) and the Czech and Slovak Republics (formerly Czechoslovakia).
Martyn Bell stepped down as Chair in 2017 due to other commitments, but remains a Trustee. Under its second Chair, Louisa Russell, the charity goes from strength to strength. Helped by a growing Friends group and supported by enthusiastic volunteers, it continues the work of establishing a unique partner network of specialist historians, researchers, writers, teachers and lecturers, veterans’ descendants and associations, museums, local communities, and media outlets who work proactively with the charity’s Trustees to instigate learning initiatives and special commemorative events.
The ultimate aim of The Secret WW2 Learning Network is to ensure that the wartime contributions and sacrifices of the ‘secret warriors’ will become their lasting legacy by continuing to engage, inform and inspire people of all ages.
Very few Second World War veterans are still with us and the information they all had in their memories will be lost if not researched, recorded and made known. In present-day society few individuals have had such experiences, and so the accumulation of information provides a database from which can be extracted significant information about their experiences.