Even after the war, secrets were kept
We live in a more open and transparent society where feelings and experiences are shared, so we might forget that it hasn’t always been that way.
During World War II, a special commando unit called the British special forces unit, the SAS, was formed, which operated behind enemy lines to commit sabotage and aid resistance against German forces.
One member gathered information about the men and their missions, bound it in a 500-page book, and then stored it away for over 50 years. Before his death, he gave it to the SAS Regimental Association. But they told very people that it existed.
Finally, an outside researcher found about it, and the information was used to create a book.
Why did this remain secret for so long?
Attitudes about secrecy were very different then, and men did not openly share their war experiences with outsiders.
During the war, while they were deceiving the enemy, these soldiers kept their secrets, and even after the war, when secrets weren’t necessary for the war effort, they continued to remain tight-lipped:
"I had no idea someone was putting the diary together," says 91-year-old Mike Sadler, who was 21 when he became a member of 1 SAS and Stirling’s navigator.
"When the regiment was disbanded after World War II we all went our different ways. Anyway, we never spoke about what we did. We just didn’t think that way and still don’t.
"I would have done the same thing as that man and put the diary away in a cupboard, I still would today. The thought of publishing the diary would not have crossed our minds."
– The SAS secret hidden since World War II, BBC News Magazine>>
– World War II British propaganda poster designed by Abram Games>>
– Image found at Webposters, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore>>