Map, Silk, Escape, MI9
Rare WWII genuine British double-sided silk escape map. This is one of the earliest series of silk escape maps produced by Bartholomew of Edinburgh on behalf of the MI9. This type was widely issued to RAF and USAAF aircrews flying over German-occupied Europe.
Rare WWII genuine British double-sided silk escape map. This is one of the earliest series of silk escape maps produced by Bartholomew of Edinburgh on behalf of MI9.
On one side of this cloth is a map of Germany and Eastern Europe showing the international borders as they were in 1941. It features sheet identity number 9.U. The second side of the silk cloth has a detailed map of France and parts of adjacent countries. This map also indicates the international boundary lines of 1941, as well as the demarcation line between Occupied and 'Unoccupied' France, the German coastal defence area, roads, railways and canals. All of this would have been invaluable information for an Allied airman on the run in Occupied Europe and attempting to return to his unit. The identity number of this map is 9.C. (a).
To prevent the cloth from unravelling, the map was heat-treated.
Maps were issued to aircrew of the RAF and USAAF as part of an escape kit in case they were shot down or forced to land while on a mission over Occupied Europe.
Escape maps were believed to be one of the most precious items in an airman's escape kit. They were useful to those engaged in resistance work helping Allied servicemen to evade capture and eventually return to Britain and continue the fight.
The information regarding the Bartholomew maps was derived from the 76-page bound top-secret booklet by Christopher Hutton, Per Ardua Libertas (Published on February 14, 1942), an MI9 publication was given to American intelligence officers when they visited England in 1942.