Following the AGM on 19 November 2016, a new Board was elected. The new team immediately had to deal with particular attacks and was faced with various difficulties and pitfalls. We made the choice to devote ourselves primarily to our stated aims: re-establishing the Bulletin, re-building our website, developing the historical strands, extending knowledge of SOE to young people, reinforcing our institutional links, and maintaining our traditions with the annual Valençay ceremony and organisation of our annual seminar.
It is not yet finalised but publication of the new issue of Libre Resistance, number 40, vouches for the work that my whole team has been working on. It is witness to the smooth working of your association, to its vitality and its ambitions in the service of those we honour. It is, however, only with your support that we will truly be able to achieve the goals that we have set ourselves and we are, therefore, counting on you.
In pursuit of our goal, on 6 May this year, we gathered once again at the foot of the ‘Spirit of Partnership’ at Valencay. The geographical site of this monument is particularly significant as it was chosen because of its proximity to the drop zone, on the night of 5-6 May 1941, of SOE F Section’s first parachuted agent, Georges Bégué. HIs task was to contact Max Hymans, then living in Valencay, in order to get his help with setting up operational networks. Initially, Bégué stayed with Hymans but then he settled himself, securely, in Châteauroux from where he could transmit to London. Max Hymans, that great republican, put all his contacts at the service of F Section and thus Pierre de Vomécourt’s AUTOGIRO was born – the first network; others followed. And because of this, we have made Hymans the lead article of this newsletter.
That same 6 May, we also paid homage to the women of SOE. To that end, 45 FANYs – under the orders of Commandant Kim McCutcheon – came especially from the United Kingdom. We cover the ceremony more fully in this, the second edition of our new format Newsletter, which adds [enhances the memory etc of?] to the memory and knowledge of SOE.
We are sure you will enjoy it.
Thank you for your support, Lionel Southgate.
Thank you for your support,