Special Operations Executive ‘Finishing School’, Beaulieu

AddressBeaulieu, Brockenhurst, Hampshire SO42 7ZN, UK
Location typeMuseum
AccessPublic Access
Site Ownership and Access InformationThe grounds of Beaulieu house now houses the National Motor Museum, which includes an exhibition about the SOE training that took place there during the Second World War (admission charge).
Contact detailsSee National Motor Museum website

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Beaulieu was a training centre for the Special Operations Executive (SOE), whose role was to conduct espionage, sabotage and reconnaissance in occupied Europe during the Second World War. In the words of Winston Churchill they were to ‘set Europe ablaze’. Many SOE personnel worked with Resistance groups in France and elsewhere on the continent. For example, they organised parachute drops of weapons and other equipment, to enable the Resistance to fight back against the Germans when the moment of liberation came. The work of SOE was vital in enabling the French Resistance to best support the Allies after D-Day.

There were eventually eleven different SOE training schools on the Beaulieu estate. Around 3,000 SOE agents passed through the training here. Theirs was a dangerous role, and many were killed while undercover in German-occupied Europe.

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