WW2 SOE Merlin Spy Camera with Film and Pouch
Vigo Militaria and Collectables are pleased to offer this original WW2 SOE Merlin Spy Camera.
Issued by MI9 and made circa 1936 by United Optical Instruments Co. in Essex UK.
This SOE Camera comes with its Pouch and also a roll of unused film.
The camera would have been used to film documents or stationery objects. The camera measures 5cm x 5cm x 4cm.
Overall the camera is in very good condition, the lens button works and shows the lens opening and closing, the film winder is a little stiff but works, the main viewfinder is working, however the small viewfinder will need reattaching to the camera but this can be an easy fix, the small viewfinder is supplied. The leather pouch is in ok condition with some of the stitching coming away. See pictures.
Overall a fabulous original WW2 SOE Spy Camera.
Setting Europe Ablaze.
In June 1940, a new volunteer force - the Special Operations Executive (SOE) - was set up to wage a secret war. Its agents were mainly tasked with sabotage and subversion behind enemy lines. They had an influential supporter in Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who famously ordered them to 'set Europe ablaze!'
SOE's director of operations was Commando officer Brigadier Colin Gubbins whose interest in irregular warfare originated from his service during the Irish War of Independence (1919-21). Gubbins had also been involved in planning to establish a sabotage force to work behind the lines during any German invasion of Britain.
Gubbins’s approach to warfare included blowing up trains, bridges and factories, as well as fostering revolt and guerrilla warfare in enemy-occupied countries.
After completing a gruelling training regime, SOE agents were parachuted into occupied Europe and the Far East to work with resistance movements. Many were serving soldiers, often with Commando training, but others joined directly from civilian life.
Women also joined up. Some were enlisted in the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (FANY) to disguise their secret work. These were the only women permitted a combat role during the Second World War.