Sir Colin McVean Gubbins

(1896—1976) army officer and intelligence officer

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(1896–1976), British irregular soldier, born in Yokohama. He was an artillery officer throughout the First World War, then served in north Russia, acquiring Russian, and in Ireland, 1919–22. Between the wars he had staff and intelligence appointments in India and the UK. In 1938 he joined MI(R), a predecessor of SOE, and he was chief of staff of the British military mission to Poland in the summer of 1939. Gubbins commanded independent companies, the forerunners of the commandos, during the Norwegian campaign, April–June 1940, and formed secret stay-behind parties who were to have disrupted rear areas of the German UK invasion force (see SEALION). He joined SOE in November 1940, in charge of training and operations, and became its mainspring; from September 1943 he was its executive director. Having once got its resources organized, he was glad to place them at disposal of local Cs-in-C.


From The Oxford Companion to World War II in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Second World War.

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