Thursday, 14 November 1940

Morlaix, Brittany

F/O Oettle (as skipper) and F/Lt Keast fly the first RAF insertion operation for SOE (or SO2 as it is known for several months after its formation).

Whitley T4264 is airborne from Stradishall at 21.00. Its target is near the town of Morlaix, in Brittany. The agent comes from de Gaulle’s Free French, from what will later become known  as SOE’s ‘RF’ (Republique Fran├žaise) Section.

The Whitley arrives over the target, but when it comes to the moment for the agent to jump, he refuses. He certainly isn’t the last, but he is the first. Later refusals are sometimes for valid reasons, such as snow on the ground, which would reveal the agent’s tracks leaving the DZ, but the reason for this refusal remains unknown.

The crew has no choice but to return to base. The agent is returned to staff duties. In his SOE in France, Professor MRD Foot saw no reason to identify the agent, saying that he later ‘did well’. Foot was an SAS parachutist himself, dropped into France in 1944, so he knew what he was about.