About

This is a poorly maintained blog focused on the activities of the British Special Operations Executive in World War II Albania.

It is written (every now and then) by Ed Reeves, owner of the UK-registered tour company Drive Albania.

Ed has also researched the route taken by the ill-fated SPILLWAY mission of winter 1943/44, and is happy to guide groups of between four and eight (fit) people in its footsteps.

23 thoughts on “About

  1. Jennifer says:

    Will be interested to follow your blog. My father, Tom Storey, flew supplies into Albania with 148 squadron and I know he supplied the Spillway mission in November and December 43

    • Thanks, Jennifer! Did you father leave any memories of his days suppling the missions in Albania?

      • Jennifer says:

        No because he died in 1964 and didn’t talk about it but I know from my own research that he had 5 members of the Col. Wheeler team aboard the night of the 12 nov to drop to Spillway (team split between Storey and Fairweather aircraft) but combination of burst tyre on takeoff, hit by flak over Greece and severe icing forced them back to a one wheel landing at Benina. Jennifer

    • Jim Crockford says:

      Hello, first of all may I say Edward what a truly great blog this is.

      I am completely new to this blogging/posting etc so please excuse any incorrect protocol etc.
      I have just this week started looking into my father’s time in the RAF, only 70 years behind!
      My father was Derek Crockford (died 1999) and from, his log book, he was a navigator/bomb aimer. He served in 148 Sqdn based at Tocra between Sept 1943 and Feb 1944, when he was 20 years old. There are many code named ops. listed but the one that I would particularly like to mention is an entry: 19.12.43 Halifax No 1 Pilot F/Sgt Storey Duty Bombardier Op “Sculptor”.

      This must be Jennifer’s father, Tom.

      I am rather overwhelmed to discover this and to think, Jennifer, that our fathers, 70 years ago, shared at least one experience together.

      Adjoining log entries show my father as bombardier in crew of W/Cdr Blackburn (op. “Discuss”) and of S/Ldr Ratcliffe (op. “Spillway 2”). I know little of these, and the other listed, SOE ops. and I very much hope that I will eventually be able to learn more.

      I realise, after only my first few days of this research, that the politics of the region were/are complicated.

      Many, many thanks to all concerned.

  2. Linda Trayhorn Davis says:

    I fortuitously stumbled across your SOE blog this evening and am very interested to know more about the forthcoming Sept 2014 expedition following the footsteps of those involved in Spillway inasmuch as my father was Capt. Frank Trayhorn who was on this mission to Albania. He was one of the officers captured by the Germans and eventually sent to Colditz together with Brig. Davies.

  3. richard faure-field says:

    my father gerry faure-field was mentioned above but died some years ago. would like to hear from anyone who knew about his exploits in albania including his self harm when fishing with exploives.

    • Hi Richard, glad you found the blog! Your father has quite a nice personal file in the National Archives at Kew. The fishing incident is mentioned in Roderick Bailey’s The Wildest Province: SOE in the Land of the Eagle. He also wrote quite an in-depth memoir for his regimental magazine, The Oak Tree. Do let me know if you haven’t seen it. It ends abruptly so curious to know if he left you any papers or memories!

  4. Jeremy Faure-Field says:

    Hi Edward – I was interested to read your reply to my brother Richard’s comments. I have my father’s book Three Seconds to Die as well as a typed, unpublished manuscript detailing his time in Nigeria, Cape Town and Cairo – where he was recruited into SOE, dropped into Albania, blew himself up and hospital ship to Italy. Anthony Quayle took over.

  5. Julie V says:

    Hi Edward,

    I am a researcher at the University of Sussex working on a project about everyday life in communist Albania. I stumbled upon your fascinating SOE blog today and would like to talk with you more about some of the work you have done on the SOE et al. and the materials you have collected in the archives. Particularly interested in the New Albania editions! Look forward to hearing from you and thanks in advance, Julie

    • Hi Julie – great to hear from you. I’m sure my friend Elton Caushi of Albanian Trip will have a better grip of what it was like to grow up under Communism than me! We’ve met plenty of fascinating folk in our travels, and Elton has a growing collection of memorabilia and publications. Elton will be coming to the Sunday Times Destinations Travel Show in early February, at Earl’s Court in London. Will email!

  6. Dave Jenkins says:

    So glad that I’ve found this blog. My Great Uncle is the George Jenkins mentioned here. My Father is also called George Jenkins. I knew he was in Albania in ’44 and have a few pics/details but nothing as detailed as this. Any idea as to why he was so unwell?

    • Hi there – glad you found the blog, too. I believe your great uncle had pneumonia. He recovered well, though, and was in Albania through till autumn 1944. You can read a little more about what he was up to in Julian Amery’s Approach March (or Sons of the Eagle, if you can get hold of a copy) or in Albanian Assignment by David Smiley…

    • Sorry for the delay responding – have been grappling with WordPress… I believe your great uncle came down with pneumonia, though he was fit and well by 1944 when he served with Lt Col Neil “Billy” McLean, David Smiley and Julian Amery. You can pick up Smiley’s Albanian Assignment for a few pounds on Amazon – it has more detail on your great uncle I think!

  7. rmb1957 says:

    I have just published a novel about the SOE’s involvement with the Rudolf Hess flight to Scotland and subsequent investigations of the Nazi Occult and the use of astrology to gain support of America in World War II. The novel is entitled Occult House. It is available at Amazon.com. I have a web site for the novel: http://www.robertmbennett.org, as well as a Facebook page.

    How can I publicize this book on your blog ?

  8. Jennifer Elkin says:

    Yes, Jim, your father Derek Crockford flew with my father on the 19th/20th December 43. They were flying supplies to the SCULPTOR mission of Major Bill Tillman. Unsuccessful sortie due to incorrect signals. “Bomb aimer reported seeing letter “A” flashed. Circled target area and regular signal consisting of green flares was seen. No true formation of signal could be observed. All signals remained alight for less than 60 seconds. Decided not to drop. Set course for base.” Keep in touch, elkin@btinternet.com. Can highly recommend Operation Dark of the Moon website for information on 148 Squadron.
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/operationdarkofthemoon/

  9. Drenagh Wootton says:

    Hi Edward,
    My father was Jim Chesshire & was with Brig Trotsky Davies. I know very little about this time, as my father rarely spoke of it. Although I do know that he was captured and ended up in Colditz. Any information you have would be much appreciated.

    • Hi Drenagh – glad you found the blog and thanks for getting in touch. Your father was indeed with Davies! He was separated from him from 22 Dec 1943 till 3 Jan 1944. During this period he kept a diary, which is now with Brig Davies’ private papers at the Imperial War Museum in London. Do you know if he kept any other papers from the War? Your father was shot through the legs when Davies was caught. They ended up in Colditz together. Have you read Illyrian Venture by Davies? Your father is featured in this – he has over 40 mentions in the index. His Personal File at the National Archives is closed till 2031 but you should be able to put in a request to have it opened. They’ll even scan and email it to you for a small fee. Best, Ed

  10. Ismail says:

    There’s an Albanian work (translated into English) I scanned recently which you’ll probably find interesting: https://archive.org/download/FromTheAnnalsOfBritishDiplomacy/From%20the%20Annals%20of%20British%20Diplomacy.pdf

    Considering you’ve commented on Enver Hoxha’s “The Anglo-American Threat to Albania,” I’d be interested in your view of this work as well.

  11. Hello Edward. Most interested to find your blog. I am surprised that I have not stumbled on it earlier. I am a London based photographer who has been travelling regularly to Albania since 2001. I have just finished a major body of work on the reuse and recycling of the military bunkers which is to be opened at the Albanian National Museum in October this year. I am very near to completing a now body of work on the National Monuments built by the Communist. I was wondering if Partisan, Ballist and Legalit battles were something that you also have an interest in. Cheers, Robert.

    • Ed Reeves says:

      Hi Robert, thanks for getting in touch. It would be great to find out more about your forthcoming exhibition! And as for your question I have an interest in all aspects of Albanian history! Do you have a specific line of enquiry re the Communist / Ballist / Legalit tiffs? Ed P.S. Great photos!

  12. Hello Ed. I thought you might like to view the finally finished body of work on lapidars in Albania. It was exhibited last year (2015) at the National Gallery of Arts in Tirana. http://www.robhackman.com Keep up the good work. R.

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