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Agent Michael Trotobas and SOE in Northern France (ePub)

Military WWII > Espionage & the SOE

By Stewart Kent, Nick Nicholas
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
File Size: 20.1 MB (.epub)
Pages: 294
ISBN: 9781473851641
Published: 1st December 2015


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The exceptional exploits, courage and leadership of British SOE Agent Trotobas have long been recognised in France but not in his own country despite being recommended for the Victoria Cross.

Captured on his first mission, Trotobas led a mass break-out from Mauzac Internment Camp and eventually returned to England. He immediately volunteered to return and established and ran a resistance group around Lille and the Pas de Calais for a year. As the Nazis closed in, he refused to leave the French men and women who had shown him complete loyalty. He paid the ultimate price, fighting to the death rather than undergo capture.

As well as describing the operations of the Sylvestre-Farmer circuit, the authors record the rivalries and intrigues that sprang up culminating in betrayals and extraordinary demand for the court martial and execution of the Circuit's British second in command.

This book is a major addition to the bibliography of the SOE and French Resistance.

This book is a valuable contribution to the bibliography of the Special Operation Executive to be enjoyed by those with or without a specialist interest or knowledge in the work of secret agents in occupied territory. The level of detail reflects the extent of the twenty years of research in archives, interviews with SOE people and those that played a part in these extraordinary times. The detail, code names, operation names, place names, true names and aliases all combine to require considerable concentration by the reader. This is not too much to ask in return for such an achievement by authors whose first book this is and who certainly achieved what they set out to accomplish. Having read the book the reader will have a substantial understanding of the strain and difficulties of working as an agent in occupied territory and be overawed with respect for their courage and dedication.

Robert Bartlett

SOE is the outfit for whom Violet Szabo
worked - she was my all-time heroine of the second World War, and she is now joined by Trotobas. For many years my weekly comics ran picture stories about the exploits of the French Resistance and the special agents engaged in sabotaging the efforts of the Axis
Alliance - this suberb and engaging book sets the record straight about Michael Trotobas - someone of whom I had never heard until this book landed on my doormat courtesy of Pen and Sword.

Inspirational - an amazing story, very well written.

Books Monthly, Paul Norman

There are many books on the SOE, its members and the operations they undertook, and to come up with a title which narrows down a story to one man is quite an achievement. All men and women of the SOE each deserve their own book dedicated to them, so what makes Trotobas stand out? To begin with, he was extremely brave. He also operated to the best of his ability and obtained much vital information. Trotobas had been captured and managed to escape and return to England. He returned to France and organised the gathering of information before being cornered in an apartment with a female agent. He was not taken alive and he went down taking a couple of Germans with him.

Well researched, good supportive documentary evidence and other accounts make this a fine book about one man and his courage to do his job where he faced death each day.

Gun Mart, April 2016 - John Norris

As featured on Navy-Net


Clearly Trotobas was a brilliant leader and it is to be hoped that his achievements will now be more widely recognized.

It is in many ways an extraordinary book with so much interesting detail.You almost feel that you learn what happened in each morning, where they had lunch, what occurred in the afternoon etc.

Peer Review - Simon Enthoven, 7th Middlesex Officer's Club

Michael Trotobas enlisted in the Middlesex Regiment before the war, and following Dunkirk was selected for officer training where he caught the attention of the Special Operations Executive. He was captured during his first mission to France, but played a leading role in a mass breakout from the Mausac internment camp and managed to reach the UK via Portugal. Eager to return to France, Trotobas did a very great deal to organise the Resistance around Lille, and the many reports and first hand accounts which are scattered throughout this narrative reveal not just his methods but also those used by SOE across Europe. In 1943, Trotobas was trapped by the Gestapo, but he refused to surrender and killed one and seriously wounded another before being shot dead. For his remarkable actions with the resistance, Trotobas was posthumously recommended for the Victoria Cross. This did not materialise, yet he was long remembered in France by those he fought alongside, who lamented the catastrophic loss of their most revered leader, but also continued to take inspiration from his example until their homeland was at last liberated.

Pegasus Archive - Mark Hickman

As well as describing the operations of the Sylvestre-Farmer circuit, the authors record the rivalries and intrigues that sprang up culminating in betrayals and extraordinary demand for the court martial execution of the Circuit's British second-in-command. A major addition to the bibliography of the SOE and French Resistance.

Eye Spy Magazine

As featured in

The Argus Brighton

Excellent, must read!!!.....
Well written, great story. I was totally immersed.

Amazon Review - CM Osbrne

At the end of chapter three I felt a chill.....
At the end of Chapter three I felt a chill run down my spine
This is moving stuff exceptionally well written in a style that engages one in the story in a chronological sense as well factually with the aid of innovative "Chapter notes" alluding to the diligence of the construction
I am compelled to read on..... Chapter 5 and the arrival of Michael back in France as part of the initial SOE deployment ..

Amazon Review - Hawthorn Carter

A corking good book.....
I have just finished this wonderful book today after buying it 2 days ago. I truly could not put it down. One felt that one was actually there when reading it. I think knowing that the story has been crafted around actual interviews and meetings with people who were there makes it stand out from some of the other books I have read. Michael Trotobas was a truly remarkable man as were the other agents. Yvonne Pechy is still alive what a brave girl she was and how brave was her poor mother Jeanne. If you only buy one book this year buy this one you won't regret it. It's full of brave men and women going above and beyond the call of duty, lest we forget their sacrifices.

Amazon Review - Susan Robinson

As featured in

The Cornishman
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