Thursday, July 16, 2009

Some WWII History

Recently Unclassified
My Cousin Johnny from West Tennessee recently me the following that I thought was very interesting. I thought you might enjoy this little bit of WWII history.

Starting in 1941, an increasing number of British Airmen found themselves as the involuntary guests of the Third Reich, and the Crown was casting about for ways and means to facilitate their escape. Now obviously, one of the most helpful aids to that end is a useful and accurate map, one showing not only where stuff was, but also showing the locations of 'safe houses' where a POW on-the-lam could go for food and shelter.

Paper maps had some real drawbacks -- they make a lot of noise when you open and fold them, they wear out rapidly, and if they get wet, they turn into mush. 

Someone  in MI-5 (similar to America's OSS ) got the idea of  printing escape maps on silk. It's durable, can be  scrunched-up into tiny wads, unfolded as many  times as needed, and makes no noise whatsoever.
At that time, there was only one manufacturer in Great Britain that had perfected the technology of printing on silk, and that was John Waddington, Ltd.  When approached by the government, the firm was only too 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, 'games and pastimes' was a  category of item qualified for insertion into 'CARE  packages', dispatched by the International Red Cross  to prisoners of war.

monopoly_boardUnder  the strictest of secrecy, in a securely guarded and inaccessible old workshop on the grounds of  Waddington's, a group of sworn-to-secrecy employees  began mass-producing escape maps, keyed to each  region of Germany 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-part metal file that could easily be screwed  together
3. Useful amounts of genuine  high-denomination German, Italian, and French  currency, hidden within 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 the corner of the Free Parking square.

Of the estimated 35,000 Allied POWS who successfully  escaped, an estimated one-third were aided in their  flight by the rigged Monopoly sets.. Everyone who  did so was sworn to secrecy indefinitely, since the  British Government might want to use this highly  successful ruse in still another, future war. The story wasn't declassified until 2007, when the  surviving craftsmen from Waddington's, as well as  the firm itself, were finally honored in a public  ceremony.

It's always nice when you can play that  'Get Out of Jail' Free' card! I  realize some of you are (probably) too young to have  any personal connection to WWII (Dec. '41 to Aug. '45), but this is still interesting.

Story  verification: Wall Street Journal Article

Tennessee Granddaddy Says:
Don’t judge others. Instead apply judgment to yourself based on the life & teachings of Jesus.

Quote of the Day
If only we'd stop trying to be happy
we could have a pretty good time.
~Edith Wharton

Joke of the Day

Among the speakers at a large seminar for ministers-in-training were many well known motivational speakers. One of them boldly approached the pulpit and, gathering the entire crowd's attention, said, "The best years of my life were spent in the arms of a woman that wasn't my wife!" The crowd was shocked!

He followed up by saying, "And that woman was my mother!"

The crowd burst into laughter and he gave his speech which, went over well. About a week later one of the ministers who had attended the seminar decided to use that joke in his sermon.

As he shyly approached the pulpit one Sunday, he tried to rehearse the joke in his head. It seemed a bit foggy to him this morning. Getting to the microphone he said loudly, "The greatest years of my life were spent in the arms of another woman that was not my wife!"

His congregation sat shocked. After standing there for almost 10 seconds trying to recall the second half of the joke, the pastor finally blurted out "...and I can't remember who she was!"

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1 comment:

Kelly said...

I went back and saw those Bill Dance bloopers! ROFLMBO! That was so so classic! I love Bill Dance. I like to catch his shows when I can. Thanks for the grins today, that was too funny! :) Poor Bill..he tries so hard too.