Special Operations Executive (SOE), 1940-46

Wednesday 28th February 2024

St John’s Place, Lower Road, Bemerton, SP2 9NP


Mention of SOE usually evokes images of a Lysander landing in, or agents parachuting into, the French countryside.

While this is undoubtedly true, this talk seeks to highlight the wider remit of SOE throughout the course of the Second World War. The talk will take you on a journey through the formation of SOE, the training of an SOE agent, before exploring some of SOE’s global involvement, and then concluding with SOE’s closure & legacy.

Ashley Barnett was elected as Treasurer and Trustee for the Secret WW2 Learning Network in April 2023, following an initial period volunteering as the charity’s Projects Officer, a role which he still holds.

His interest in military history grew throughout his school years, while exploring the subject through reading, attending events, playing computer games, etc. The next chapter involved numerous battlefield tours across the globe, including Kohima, El Alamein, the Falklands, Stalingrad, South Africa and many more. For his day job, Ashley is a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, holds a First Class Honours in Applied Accounting through Oxford Brookes University, and is currently working towards becoming a member of the Chartered Management Institute (CMI).

Ashley recently co-founded Barnthorn Publishing Limited with Neil Thornton, military historian and published author, with the aim of making publishing more accessible to would-be authors.

Entrance for members is included in your annual subscription. For non-members, entrance is £10 (cash, card or cheque) at the door.

There is a small car park and lay-by opposite St John’s Place on Lower Road (for approx. 20 cars). Parking is also allowed on single yellow lines on Lower Road after 6pm. Alternative car parking is available at The Clubhouse, Salisbury and South Wilts Sports Club (SP2 9NY) and a pathway connects to St John’s Place.