Posted 4 years ago
British WW11 double sided silk escape map, about the size of a large handkerchief, the detail is amazing! Most of England missing...for obvious reasons. This map together with two others I have, were given to me by a friend who was in the Army in the 1980's, on a base where he was responsible for the design/drawing and distribution of maps to the armed forces. Whilst there, he discovered a couple of offices in the complex which had been sealed up since WW11, amongst other things found was a cabinet full of these maps, untouched since WW11 !
Waddington PLC, the printing company best known for its games including Monopoly, was involved in printing thes maps in WW11. The maps themselves were mainly small scale, covering large areas; many were copied from maps then available from Bartholomew's in traditional paper form. (Bartholomew's generously waived all royalties, for the privilege of helping the war effort). In addition tiny compasses were concealed in buttons, pens and the like; with these two items the escaper had some chance of finding his way to safety. Waddington was printing maps on silk, rayon and tissue paper for military use and smuggling some of them to prisoners of war.
Waddington already possessed the technology to print on cloth and made a variety of board games, packs of cards and so forth that could sent to the camps. They began by printing silk maps for supply to air crews, both British and American, and went on to conceal maps inside Monopoly boards, chess sets and packs of cards which could be sent into the prison camps.
The idea was that a serviceman captured or shot down behind enemy lines should have a map to help him find his way to safety if he escaped or, better still, evade capture in the first place.