Conclusion: From Judge to Outlaw
Interviewed many years later for the BBC’s ‘Oral History’, Owen Reed was asked for details of his wartime service in Yugoslavia. In response he rather guardedly described how he found himself working for one of the various Allied organizations that were penetrating occupied Europe. ‘SOE was the best known’, he went on. ‘This was a less well known but more classic organization.’1 It was in fact SIS. At the beginning of this book I referred to the absence of serious research on SIS operations in the Second World War. The few general histories of the Service have largely concerned its higher direction and top-level interaction with other organizations – notably SOE – and research on field agents working in enemy-occupied territory has almost exclusively been confined to SOE. Approaching SIS from the field officer’s perspective, this account has thus sought to map territory that has hitherto been largely unexplored in an effort to reappraise their wartime history in general, and their activities in Yugoslavia in particular. Such broader historical questions as emerge from Owen Reed’s experiences must now be considered. But first it is necessary to summarize the salient features of his story.