Radio War: The Secret Espionage War of the Radio Security Service 1938-1946

Author(s): David Abrutat 

ISBN: 9781781557594
£17.50 £25.00
The secret untold story of the Second World War wireless espionage war of the Radio Security Service.

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  • The first ever dedicated history of the Radio Security Service (RSS)

  • Insight into the structure and organisation of the RSS including its legacy after the Second World War, entering the Cold War and the creation of GCHQ in 1946

  • Personal stories of the Voluntary Interceptors (VIs) and wireless operators working against German Intelligence networks around the world

  • Profusely illustrated with many previously unpublished photos

  • Foreword by ex-GCHQ Director Sir Iain Lobban KCMG CB 

During the Second World War, German intelligence had deployed wireless teams throughout occupied Europe and agents infiltrated Britain to spy on military activity.

Monitoring and reporting of wireless transmissions fell to a small, secretive and largely unknown unit. It became known as the Radio Security Service (RSS) and was at the core of the intelligence production effort at Bletchley Park. It gave unique insights into German Intelligence Services operations and planning.

Much of the unit was made up of Voluntary Interceptors (VI) who would spend hours at home listening for faint signals transmitted by German intelligence wireless operators. The RSS story has never been fully documented and Radio War focuses on the secret world of wireless espionage and includes first-hand accounts from surviving veterans of the unit. 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 the Chief of MI6 Stewart Menzies, was to say of the RSS, ‘…a team of brilliance unparalleled anywhere in the intelligence machine’.

BOOK ISBN 9781781557594
FORMAT 234 x 156 mm
BINDING Hardback
PAGES 208 pages
PUBLICATION DATE 12 December 2019
ILLUSTRATIONS 39 black-and-white photographs



David Abrutat is a former Royal Marines Commando, RAF officer, zoologist and currently a lecturer in International Relations and Security Studies in the Department of Economics at the University of Buckingham. He has long had a passionate interest in military history. His most recent book is Vanguard: The Intelligence and Reconnaissance Missions Behind D-Day (2019).