Explore Churchill's SOE

Explore the St. Ermin's association of Churchill’s Secret Army in our special display of original WW11 SOE field equipment.

In July 1940 Winston Churchill ordered an amalgam of two existing clandestine units known as SOE (Special Operations Executive) to “set Europe ablaze” through the use of sabotage and subversion, most notably in western Europe.

That organisation was initially headquartered on the fourth floor of the St Ermin’s Hotel, which carries an intriguing and glamorous history of espionage, double agents and WWII sabotage and which now has a display of original SOE equipment from the 1940s. The items, on loan from the London Clandestine Warfare Collection,  include hidden weaponry, escape and evasion aids, ordnance and communications, from concealed radios to carrier pigeons. An original FANY (First Aid Nursing Yeomanry) uniform, an all-female organisation originally formed in 1907 and active in both nursing and intelligence in both world wars, is also on show.

St. Ermin's hotel is the only publicly accessible establishment in London closely associated with the history of espionage, particularly the British intelligence services through WWII and the Cold War.