book price comparison
Search our site
Persons Unknown by Susie Steiner Read the opening extract of the brand new Susie Steiner book before its publication on 05/04/2018

The Secret Ministry of Ag. & Fish My Life in Churchill's Secret Army by Noreen Riols

The Secret Ministry of Ag. & Fish My Life in Churchill's Secret Army

Biography / Autobiography   eBook Favourites   

Sue Baker's view...

As the title suggests this is a personal story of what it was like to work in SOE, only 18 when she was called up, it was quickly discovered Noreen Riols was fluent in French and was sent to SOE headquarters, Baker Street where she worked from 1943-45. Her memories give readers an idea of what it was like working under such secrecy, what the department contributed to the war effort and the dangers faced by SOE agents who too often did not come back from their missions.

Like for Like Reading

A Life in Secrets: Vera Atkins and the Lost Agents of SOE, Sarah Helm

Sisters, Secrets and Sacrifice: The True Story of WWII Special Agents Eileen and Jacqueline Nearne, Susan Ottaway

Who is Sue Baker


The Secret Ministry of Ag. & Fish My Life in Churchill's Secret Army by Noreen Riols

'My mother thought I was working for the Ministry of Ag. and Fish.' So begins Noreen Riols' compelling memoir of her time as a member of Churchill's 'secret army', the Special Operations Executive. It was 1943, just before her eighteenth birthday, Noreen received her call-up papers, and was faced with either working in a munitions factory or joining the Wrens. A typically fashion-conscious young woman, even in wartime, Noreen opted for the Wrens - they had better hats. But when one of her interviewers realized she spoke fluent French, she was directed to a government building on Baker Street. It was SOE headquarters, where she was immediately recruited into F-Section, led by Colonel Maurice Buckmaster. From then until the end of the war, Noreen worked with Buckmaster and her fellow operatives to support the French Resistance fighting for the Allied cause. Sworn to secrecy, Noreen told no one that she spent her days meeting agents returning from behind enemy lines, acting as a decoy, passing on messages in tea rooms and picking up codes in crossword puzzles. Vivid, witty, insightful and often moving, this is the story of one young woman's secret war, offering readers an authentic and compelling insight into what really went on in Churchill's 'secret army' from one of its last surviving members.


Told with wit, charm and enthusiasm, it's a compelling read. -- Choice

personality shines through this perceptive, readable account of those on missions where there was never a better than 50:50 chance of survival

. -- Times

About the Author

Born in Malta of English parents, Noreen Riols lives with her French husband in a seventeenth-century house in a village near Versailles. After the war, she joined the BBC, where she met her husband, a journalist with the World Service. She is the author of ten books, published in Britain, France, Germany, Holland, Norway, and the US. She has written numerous newspaper and magazine articles and for several years contributed features from Paris to Woman's Hour. She is an experienced public speaker with an impressive list of credits to her name and has also broadcast on radio and television programmes across the world.

More books by this author
Author 'Like for Like' recommendations

Loading similar books...
Loading other formats...

Book Info

Publication date

8th May 2014


Noreen Riols

More books by Noreen Riols
Author 'Like for Like'


Pan Books an imprint of Pan Macmillan


320 pages


Biography / Autobiography
eBook Favourites

Second World War

Espionage & secret services



Hooked on books? Give Lovereading a go - for the chance to discover brilliant books, and to see why our members love it so.

Claire Hill

Why I love @lovereadinguk? It's in the name - as dedicated lovers of reading, they are perfect matchmakers for helping me find my next read!

Catherine Jenkins

They are bright, breezy and eager to offer a great book, then genuinely listen/respect the review one writes.

Maggie Crane

It's the first site that I visit when deciding on the next set of books to buy. A particular treat is being able to download an extract.

Tessa Olson

Lovereading has all the new books and also suggestions for 'similar' authors whilst waiting for your favourites new books.

Carol Peace

Books of the month/debuts of the month, kids/adults, fiction/non-fiction, free prize draws and free extracts, what's not to love?

Emma Smith

Lovereading does a stella job in promoting both new and established authors.

Iris Clements

I love the honest opinions, recommendations for every genre and every reader, wish lists and Like for Like.

Amrita Dasgupta