Obituary: Aubrey Trofimov.
This group was parachuted into enemy territory to help supply and organise local resistance cells.
The SOE was created in 1940 as a subsidiary of MI6, but was subject to much jealousy and internal warfare with the other intelligence services. It earned its spurs in France from D-Day in Normandy, in June, 1944, and again in the "forgotten war" at the end of hostilities against the Japanese in Burma. Trofimov was active in both theatres and won the Croix de Guerre and later the Military Cross in the Far East.
He had many hair-raising escapes in France, not helped by betrayals in the Resistance. Once his car broke down and was pushed off the road by a German Army column' later, a radio detection van appeared at a farm from which he was transmitting, but luckily its crew were off-duty.
Preferring to wear civilian clothes after being dropped into France, he was apprehended by a German patrol and faked being a violently sick drunk to avoid being searched and his US pistol discovered - which would have meant instant execution. The ruse worked and he helped the resistance capture a local town with no fatalities.
Trofimov's excellent French derived from being sent to a junior school in France.
Yet he was born in Manchester, the son of a teacher who escaped from revolutionary Russia. Trofimov then attended a Derbyshire grammar school and enrolled at Manchester University to read architecture.
After his French exploits and promotion to major, in SOE Force 136, he was dropped in Burma, in March, 1945, to aid General Slim's 14th Army. With local rebel guerrillas, his team attacked Japanese roads and railway lines in jungle and mountain.
Returning to Manchester University after the war ended, he completed his architecture diploma and practised in London, Newcastle and France. Appropriately, given his active service, he enjoyed outdoor sports. He leaves a wife, Jean, and their two sons.
Aubrey "Trof" Trofimov, soldier and architect' born, December 7, 1921, died, May 6, 2006