Cranleigh’s School For Secret Agents

Cranleigh Arts Centre is pleased to partner and host the Secret WW2 Learning Network, a registered educational charity promoting knowledge and understanding of clandestine warfare in the Second World War.

The Network is presently researching the role of selecting and training secret agents played by ‘Winterfold’ the Special Training School (STS) that was operated by the Special Operations Executive (SOE) on the outskirts of Cranleigh. SOE was the wartime secret service instructed by Prime Minister Winston Churchill to “Set Europe Ablaze” and the stately home of ‘Winterfold’ saw hundreds of trainee agents, mostly French, Dutch, Belgian and British pass through its doors. Many served heroically in occupied Europe. Many did not return.

A morning presentation and update on the Network’s findings, including links to the locality and a newly-discovered part played by Cranleigh’s former Regal Cinema, includes details of two agents who ‘graduated’ from ‘Winterfold’. A sandwich lunch will be provided within the price and the afternoon session will consist of a showing of the classic 1958 Lewis Gilbert film Carve Her Name With Pride which tells the story of SOE’s tragic heroine, Violette Szabó who was posthumously awarded the George Cross. Only in recent years has it come to light that Violette’s selection and initial training was at ‘Winterfold’.

Please Note – Winterfold House is now private property and not publicly-accessible.

The event’s draft programme is:


10.30 – Doors open and registration – early arrivals can purchase refreshments from the CAC café

11.00 – Welcome, description of partnership approach CAC/SWW2LN, thanks to any sponsors, housekeeping etc Peter Hunt and Paul McCue

11.10 – Introductory presentation on the SWW2LN, the Special Operations Executive (SOE), the establishment at Winterfold and its use by SOE’s Belgian, Dutch and French Sections. Paul McCue

12.00 – Case study 1 of a Winterfold-trained female agent. Carol Browne

12.30 – Case study 2 of a Winterfold-trained male agent. Paul McCue

13.00 – Sandwich lunch, tea and coffee provided

14.00 – Introduction of film and SOE agent Violette Szabó. Paul McCue

14.15 – Carve Her Name With Pride PT1

15.15 – Intermission

15.45 – Carve Her Name With Pride PT2

16.45 – Closing remarks. Paul McCue and Peter Hunt

The ticket price will be £20 for the day.

Paul McCue – Trustee
01483 429364

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