The Special Operations Executive, also known as ‘Churchill’s Secret Army’, was a top secret organisation founded in 1940 to aid the British war efforts.
Last night’s event, organised by the Special Forces Club, marked the 75th anniversary since the SOE was created and celebrated the key work that it undertook whilst using the Natural History Museum as one of its war stations.
850 guests arrived for the black-tie event including Princess Anne who is Patron of the Special Forces Club, The Crown Prince of Denmark and The Crown Prince of Norway. Other guests included WWII veterans from the Special Operations Executive including war heroes Joachim Ronneberg, General John Singlaub and Colonel Edwards Toms.
The Special Forces Club commented; “During the Second World War, the Natural History Museum was one of the Special Operations Executive’s Top Secret Stations, making it an ideal venue to celebrate the history of the organisation. The Museum holds a memorial dedicated to us by our Club Patron Princess Anne in its Waterhouse Way Gallery - it was wonderful for guests to gather in this iconic location.”
To host the event, the Museum’s events team transformed the Hintze Hall in under an hour to bring in 100 tables, set up the live band and supervised the installation of staging, sound systems and lighting by the mammoth Wise Production crew. The Special Forces Club gave the tables iconic names such as Station 15b and ‘Sabotage’, provided Special Operations Executive souvenir table booklets and displayed unique memorabilia linking to the organisation’s locations, skills and countries around the venue.
After a drinks reception in Dinosaur Way, guests were invited into the Hintze Hall to enjoy a 3 course dinner from London caterer Create, alongside the famous Diplodocus, Dippy. Throughout the evening, live music was performed by The Royal Marines Association Concert Band and the Pinstripe Highlanders.
Head of Catering and Events, Simon Kershaw, said; “We are delighted to welcome the Special Forces Club to the Museum and celebrate this key anniversary with all who attended. Amongst our range of venue spaces, the Hintze Hall provided a grand venue which fitted perfectly with the theme and logistically, could handle the 850 guests.”