Carve Their Names With Pride! – a series of events to celebrate Brighton’s WWII Secret Agent Heroes



From left to right; Captain Michael Trotobus, Captain Ronald Taylor, Captain Edward Zeff, Lt Jacqueline Nearne,

There’s still time to join The Secret WW2 Learning Network and its partners at
11am on Saturday 12th November 2016 at Brighton Dome Corn Exchange
for the official ‘grand reveal’ of four blue plaques in memory of four Brighton-born WW2 secret agents of the Special Operations Executive (SOE)

This very special commemorative day will have the theme

Carve Their Names With Pride
and the programme will continue during the afternoon with a unique book & film get-together

for everyone who’s been inspired by WW2’s ‘secret warriors’ – with talks by special guests,

book signings and short films – plus a bookshop by CITY BOOKS and a café

Admission to this all day event at Brighton Dome Corn Exchange will be FREE, but by invitation only and limited places are still available

Please email your request asap to: [email protected]



Brighton’s secret agents: the research that led to the four blue plaques, plus a book and so much more

Friday 11th November – The Keep, Falmer

13.30 – 15.00: Researching the Lives of Our Agents

This workshop-style presentation will guide participants through the process of discovering and uncovering the lives of those who participated in the secret war – with archivist Andrew Bennett demonstrating the use of The Keep’s archive resources, plus Martyn Cox of The Secret WW2 Learning Network and University of Sussex historian Dr Chris Warne exploring the value of oral testimony (including interviews held as part of the Archive of Resistance Testimony at the Keep) for assessing the wider significance of the secret war.

15.30 – 17.00: Who Do We Think They Were?

Military historian Paul McCue will present an insight into the lives of four WW2 secret agents each born in Brighton, tracing their contrasting roles and experiences while aiding resistance in occupied Europe. Paul’s presentation will be followed by Q&A and the launch of his new book BRIGHTON’S SECRET AGENTS – published to coincide with this unique Brighton & Hove initiative.

​Entry to this event is FREE but please email EVENTS to book. 

Tuesday 15th November, The Old Court Room, 118 Church Street, Brighton

LINDELL’S LIST: Saving British & American Women at Ravensbrück 

14.30 Peter Hore

Already a decorated heroine of the First World War, British-born Mary Lindell, Comtesse de Milleville, was one of the most colourful and courageous agents of the Second World War, yet her story has almost been forgotten.

Evoking the spirit of Edith Cavell, and taking the German occupation of Paris in 1940 as a personal affront, she led an escape line for patriotic Frenchmen wanting to join the Free French and for British soldiers left behind after Dunkirk. She would later set up an escape line for Blondie Hasler, leader of the ‘Cockleshell Heroes’ and for downed Allied aircrew, and in April 1945, when a score of British and American women emerged from Ravensbrück concentration camp, known as the Women’s Hell, they had been kept alive by the willpower and the strength of character of one fellow prisoner, Mary Lindell.

Poignantly supported by first-hand testimony, Lindell’s List tells the moving story Mary Lindell’s heroic leadership and of the endurance of a group of women who defied the Nazis in the Second World War.

Peter Hore is the author of several biographies and for the last dozen years a freelance obituarist at the Daily Telegraph. He served a full career in the Royal Navy, spent nine years in the film and TV industry, and is now a full-time writer, editor and journalist.


Examining some of the myths and legends surrounding SOE’s history

​15.30 – MARK SEAMAN

Mark Seaman is an historian specialising in intelligence and special operations. He joined the Imperial War Museum in 1980 and was responsible for projects including the exhibition ‘European Resistance to Nazi Germany, 1939-1945’, the ‘Secret War’ permanent gallery and an international conference on the Special Operations Executive.

His published work includes ‘Bravest of the Brave’ (a biography of the SOE agent ‘Tommy Yeo-Thomas), ‘Operation Foxley; the British plan to kill Hitler’ and ‘Special Operations Executive; A new instrument of war’.  He has featured frequently in the written and broadcast media including acting as adviser to television and film projects. In 2015 he was awarded an MBE for services to the history of espionage.

16.30: Refreshment break

16.45: Panel – SECRET WW2: Myths, facts & fiction –

With at least four published biographers and one fiction writer in the room, not to mention one of them also being a leading literary agent, this promises to be a lively and informative session especially when discussiing how well (or poorly) the publishing industry handles SOE and intelligence projects; but this should also be well worth attending for anyone with a more general interest in writing, including ‘how to get published’.

Books by the speakers will be on sale (Event ends at 18.00)

Please note that ANDREW LOWNIE will be giving a separate talk at 19.00 on Guy Burgess

Tickets for this daytime event are £7.00 each, Please email EVENTS to book and press DONATE to pay

STALIN’S ENGLISHMAN  Tuesday 15th November 19.00 at The Old Courtroom, 118 Church Street, Brighton

by Andrew Lownie

This unique series of Tuesday talks will continue at 7pm with Andrew Lownie,  who believes Guy Burgess  was the most important, complex and fascinating of ‘The Cambridge Spies’ – Maclean, Philby, Blunt – all brilliant young men recruited in the 1930s to betray their country to the Soviet Union.

An engaging and charming companion to many, an unappealing, utterly ruthless manipulator to others, Burgess rose through academia, the BBC, the Foreign Office, MI5 and MI6, gaining access to thousands of highly sensitive secret documents which he passed to his Russian handlers.

In this first full biography, Andrew has shown how even Burgess’s chaotic personal life of drunken philandering did nothing to stop his penetration and betrayal of the British Intelligence Service. Even when he was under suspicion, the fabled charm which had enabled many close personal relationships with influential Establishment figures (including Winston Churchill) prevented his exposure as a spy for many years.

Through interviews with more than a hundred people who knew Burgess personally, many of whom have never spoken about him before, and the discovery of hitherto secret files, Stalin’s Englishman brilliantly unravels the many lives of Guy Burgess in all their intriguing, chilling, colourful, tragi-comic wonder.

Andrew Lownie was born in 1961 and was educated in Britain and America. He read history at Magdalene College, Cambridge where he was President of the Union. After a period as a bookseller and journalist, he began his publishing career as the graduate trainee at Hodder & Stoughton. In 1985 became an agent at John Farquharson, now part of Curtis Brown, and the following year became the then youngest director in British publishing when he was appointed a director.

Since 1984 he has written and reviewed for a range of newspapers and magazines, including The Times, Spectator and Guardian; and as an author himself, most notably of a biography of John Buchan and a literary companion to Edinburgh, he has an understanding of the issues and problems affecting writers.

Andrew is a member of the Association of Authors’ Agents and Society of Authors and was until recently the literary agent to the international writers’ organisation PEN. In 1998 he founded The Biographers Club, a monthly dining society for biographers and those involved in promoting biography, and The Biographers’ Club Prize which supports first-time biographers.

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