RSGB 2021 Online Convention presentation – Radio War

Dr David Abrutat
David examines the story of the Second World War Radio Security Service (RSS). During the Second World War German intelligence agents were deployed to mainland Britain to spy on British military activity. Monitoring and reporting of their wireless transmissions fell to a small, secretive and largely unknown unit manned almost exclusively by volunteers. The Voluntary Interceptors (VI) as they became known would spend hours every day at home monitoring their receivers for often faint and difficult to copy signals transmitted by these German secret intelligence services. This unit was to become known as the Radio Security Service (RSS) and was part of the core of the signals intelligence production effort at Bletchley and the insights into German military tactical and strategic planning. It was a vital part of the successful double cross programme mounted by British intelligence to deceive the Germans. This talk focuses on the secret world of the Radio Security Service – its existence was only made public 35 years after the war ended, shortly after Bletchley Park’s secrets were exposed. Patrick Reilly, the Assistant to Head of MI6 Stewart Menzies, was to say of the RSS…. `a team of brilliance unparalleled anywhere in the intelligence machine.’

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