Reference Materials

Topics included here:

1. UK Intelligence Structure

2. Bibliographies

3. Encyclopedias and Historical Dictionaries

4. Research Materials

5. Web Sites

6. Document Release Issues

7. Weapons and Equipment

1. UK Intelligence Structure

Cabinet Office. National Intelligence Machinery. London: HMSO, 2001.

This is the September 2001 edition (previously published in 1993, 1996, and 2000) of the official description of the United Kingdom's intelligence and security structure. Click for Table of Contents.


2. Bibliographies

Davies, Philip H. J. The British Secret Services. Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, Rutgers University, 1996. Oxford: ABC-Clio, 1996.

According to Kruh, Cryptologia 21.2, this is "an annotated bibliography of British Secret Services from their Elizabethan origins to the present." The book is organized around the three primary intelligence and security services, the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), the Security Service (MI5), and the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ). Additional sections cover the World War II specialty services. The author includes "a wide range of books, journal articles and a scattering of other works, with thoughtful annotations for each entry."

3. Encyclopedias

Crawford, Steve. The SAS Encyclopedia: The Definitive Companion to the World's Crack Regiment. London: Lewis International, 1998.

Wahla, http://www.specwarnet.com/reviews/sas_encyclopedia.htm, comments that this book "covers every aspect of the SAS. From its birth in the deserts of North Africa, through the '50's and '60's, the conflict in Northern Ireland, the Gulf War, and the battles against terrorism and the drug barons, the book gives detail and history that one would have to read dozens of books to find by oneself."

Davies, Barry. The Complete Encyclopedia of the SAS. London: Virgin Publishing, 1998. New ed. 2001. [pb] London: Virgin Books, 2007 [pb]

From publisher: "This encyclopedia aims ... to provide a reference to every aspect of the history of the British Army's elite fighting force, and that of its brothers-in-arms in the Australian, New Zealand and Rhodesian SAS. This easily accessible A-Z offers over 1000 entries, each cross-referenced, covering operations, personnel, specialized weaponry and equipment."

West, Nigel [Rupert Allason]. Historical Dictionary of British Intelligence. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 2005. 2d ed. rev. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2014.

From publisher: This Dictionary has "more than 1,800 entries, covering a vast and varied cast of characters.... Covered also are the agencies; leading individuals and prominent personalities; operations, including double agent and deception campaigns; and events, using the most up-to-date declassified material."

Peake, Studies 50, no. 1 (Mar. 2006), notes that while this work focuses "on the British intelligence services, there is much of interest to Americans, since many operations and cases overlap.... Remarkably free from errors overall, the Historical Dictionary has a fine bibliography and begins with a witty essay about the eccentricities of British intelligence." To Skarpac, DIJ 15.1 (2006), the author provides "a complete overview detailing the history and operations of British intelligence from Abbassia to Zululand.... This book is an exemplary reference for anyone interested in intelligence."

Acording to Peake, Studies 58.3 (Sep. 2014), the second edition "contains 74 pages of material that surfaced since the first edition was published." Additions include new personalities and terms, and expansion of other entries. There are no sources for the entries.

Wright, Peter. The Spycatcher's Encyclopedia of Espionage. Richmond and Victoria: William Heinemann Australia, 1991.

Surveillant 2.1: "A witty, bitter, get-even 'core dump.'"

4. Research Materials

Released intelligence-related documents go up on the British National Archives site as they become available: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/releases.

Andrew, Christopher. "Historical Research on the British Intelligence Community." In Comparing Foreign Intelligence: The U.S., the USSR, the U.K. & the Third World, ed. Roy Godson, 43-64. Washington, DC: Pergamon-Brassey's, 1988.

Atherton, Louise.

1. SOE Operations in Africa and the Middle East: A Guide to Newly Released Records in the Public Record Office. London: PRO Publications, 1994.

Aldrich, I&NS 10.4: "This well-organized booklet is essential reading for anyone preparing to do extensive work on this subject."

2. SOE Operations in Eastern Europe: An Introduction to the Newly Released Records of the Special Operations Executive in Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland and Russia. London: PRO, 1995.

3. SOE Operations in the Far East: An Introductory Guide to the Newly Released Records of the Special Operations Executive in the Public Record Office. London: PRO Publications, 1993.

Aldrich, I&NS 10.1: "This publication is, on the whole, commendably thorough and knowledgeable."

4. SOE Operations in Scandinavia: A Guide to the Newly Released Records in the Public Record Office. London: PRO Publications, 1994.

Aldrich, I&NS 10.1: This group of "SOE material will be of interest to historians of the early Cold War as well as those working on the Second World War."

5. Top Secret: An Interim Guide to Recent Releases of Intelligence Records at the Public Record Office. London: PRO Publications, 1993.

Aldrich, I&NS 10.1: "This publication overviews recent releases of records on the collection, organization and financing of British intelligence from the early eighteenth century to just before the First World War.... This is ... a very useful preliminary guide to well over 100 promising early intelligence-related files.... Atherton analyses the material thematically ... [which] has strengths and weaknesses."

Cantwell, John D. The Second World War: A Guide to Documents in the Public Record Office. London: PRO, 1998.

Kruh, Cryptologia 25.2, notes that this work "details the vast amount of material" relating to World War II held in the UK's Public Record Office. It is "[d]esigned primarily for researchers, especially those concerned [with] military operations and events on the Home Front," and should be "very helpful" to serious historians.

Fisher, John. SOE Operations in the Balkans: A Guide to the Newly Released Records in the Public Record Office. London : HMSO, 1998.

Foot, M.R.D., selector. Secret Lives: Lifting the Lid on Worlds of Secret Intelligence. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.

Peake, Studies 47.1 (2003), finds that this work is comprised of some 90 entries selected from the Dictionary of National Biography of individuals who lived between 1400 and 2000 and who were involved in secret service in some way. "The collection is a useful adjunct to the intelligence literature." For Bath, NIPQ 19.4, Foot's "entries are short and fact-filled, but highly readable.... A great book for reference and for leisure time browsing."

Alvarez, H-Diplo, H-Net Reviews, Aug.2003 [http://www.h-net.org], comments that "the alleged merits and attractions of the DNB [Dictionary of National Biography] are lost on this reviewer. If the present selections are a fair indication, the entries seem no more or less pedestrian than those found in most reference volumes.... [T]he entries (some originally published more than a hundred years ago) can hardly be expected to provide much in the way of fresh insight or new information concerning their subjects."

Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Library and Records Department. Historical Branch. IRD: Origins and Establishment of the Foreign Office Information Research Department, 1946-8. History Notes/LRD Historical Branch, 9. London: FCO Historians, 1995.

Clark comment: This is a 21-page pamphlet. Aldrich, I&NS 11.1: "This publication covers the early origins of IRD.... [M]aterial on co-ordination with the United States and with other British clandestine departments is ... rather thin."

Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Special Review Team. List of Papers Released From the Previously Retained FCO Archive. London: LRD, 1994. 2d ed. London: LRD, 1995.

With regard to the 1st edition, Aldrich, I&NS 10.4, comments that this volume is the "published list of over 3,000 FCO files re-reviewed and released in the PRO by the FCO Special Review Team up to November 1994." The material "mostly pertains to the late 1950s and early 1960s.... Most of the files do not specifically concern intelligence. Nevertheless, the first glimmers of the release of post-war intelligence-related papers are here." On the 2d edition, Aldrich, I&NS 11.1, notes that the publication "provides a cumulative list of all the new releases of previously retained files into [various] FCO file categories, running to no fewer than 206 pages."

[Morgan, Roger J.] Public Record Office New Openings. London: Roger J. Morgan, 1992.

Surveillant 2.5: "Morgan creates an annual index of the latest released documents by the British Government."

Peszke, Michael A. "British Special Operations Executive Archives and Poland: An Analysis." Polish Review 42, no. 4 (1997): 431-446. [Capet]

Scott, Len. "Sources and Methods in the Study of Intelligence: A British View." Intelligence and National Security 22, no. 2 (Apr. 2007): 185-205.

The author assesses some of the "challenges and opportunities for the study of intelligence in the United Kingdom and places them in historical context. It focuses on various aspects of intelligence organization and practice, specifically covert acion and central intelligence machinery. And finally it reflects on the extent to which recent events pose new challenges to the study and practice of British intelligence."

Stuart, Duncan. "'Of Historical Interest Only': The Origins and Vicissitudes of the SOE Archives." Intelligence and National Security 20, no 1 (Mar. 2005): 14-26. And in Special Operations Executive: A New Instrument of War, ed. Mark Seaman, 217-229. London: Routledge, 2006; and in The Politics and Strategy of Clandestine War: Special Operations Executive, 1940-1946, ed. Neville Wylie, 15-26. London : Routledge, 2007.

The author was SOE Advisor to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office until the final releases of SOE documents to the PRO in 2002. He notes that the archivist who organized the files in the early 1970s estimated that 87 percent of SOE's files had been destroyed between 1945 and 1950.

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