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Old 10-05-2019, 6:00pm   #1
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Default One of the coolest WWII stories...

you've probably never hears:

Starting in 1941 an increasing number of British Airmen found themselves an involuntary guest of the Third Reich as Prisoners of War. The British authorities were casting-about for ways and means to facilitate their escape.

Obviously, one of the most helpful aids to that end is a helpful and useful map, one showing where-stuff-was outside the detainment centers. Paper maps had some real drawbacks: They make a lot of noise was you open and fold them, they wear out rapidly, and if they get wet, they turn to mush.

The idea came up to print maps on silk. Silk is a durable material that can be scrunched-up into tiny wads, unfolded as many times as needed, and make no noise whatsoever.

At the time, there was only one manufacturer in Great Britain that had perfected the technology of printing on silk, and that company was John Waddington, Ltd. When approached by the Government the company was all to happy to do its bit for the war effort.

By pure coincidence, Waddington was also the U.K. licensee for the popular American board game, Monopoly. As it happened, "words and pastimes" was a category of item qualified for insertion into "CARE packages", dispatched to Prisoners of War. Under the strictest of secrecy, in a securely guarded and inaccessible building located on the grounds of Waddington's, a group of sworn-to-secrecy employees began mass-producing escape maps, keyed to each region of German or Italy where Allied POW camps were located.

When processed, these maps could be folded into such tiny dots that they would actually fit inside a Monopoly playing piece. As long as they were at it, the clever workmen at Waddington's also managed to add:

1. A playing token containing a small magnetic compass;

2. A two-piece metal file that could easily be screwed together, and

3. Useful amounts of genuine high-denomination German, Italian, and French currency, hidden among the piles of Monopoly money!

British and American air-crews were advised, before taking off on their first mission, how to identify a "rigged" Monopoly set: By means of a tiny red dot, one cleverly rigged to look like an ordinary printing glitch, located in te corner of the "Free Parking" square!

To this day, the number of POW's who used the "escape kits" is unclear,but some have claimed that as many of one one-third of all escapees used these kits.

Everyone involved was sworn to secrecy indefinitely, sine the British Government might want to use this highly effective ruse in another, future war. The story wasn't de-classified until 2007, when the surviving craftsmen from Waddington's, as well as the firm itself, were finally honored in a public ceremony.
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Old 10-10-2019, 7:28pm   #2
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I had one from the CBI theater when I collected the stuff. Aircrew would also sew them into their jacket liners.
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