Buckmaster, Colonel Maurice, 1902-1992

Buckmaster was Chief of the French Section of the Special Operations Executive (SOE). He had been manager of the French company of Ford Motors before the war. He joined up with the Army after the outbreak of the war and became Information Officer of the French Section in March 1941. In September he became its head and his task was to set up from scratch an organization which would carry out sabotage, equip and train underground resistence armies and gather intelligence. The French Section was independent of the parallel organization of the Free French Gaullists, the BCRA. SOE eventually had about 100 circuits of subversive agents in France and armed thousands of resisters who harassed German divisions. It also sent about 400 trained agents into the field of whom about 100 did not return. Buckmaster took a personal interest in all his agents but was too worried about security ever to go to France himself. He was in many ways a controversial figure: many have questioned his judgment in sending Noor INAYAT Khan and Odette SANSOM into the field in the light of their indifferent training reports.

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