POW Monopoly sets

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by s1chris, Oct 14, 2013.

  1. s1chris

    s1chris Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2011
    Messages:
    640
    Likes Received:
    10
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Occupation:
    Original gangster
    Location:
    Jamaica
    Ok so I might be about 6 years late with this question after it's supposed declassification from the official secrets act.

    But are the claims that a compass, two piece file, local currency and a silk escape map were concealed within Monopoly board game sets and sent into the POW camps by the Red Cross to aid escape?

    It's sounds entirely plausible but I have also seen many claims that this was/is a hoax.

    Are there any examples of the game around in POW guise?

    Cheers Chris
     
  2. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Messages:
    36,714
    Likes Received:
    1,053
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Nightshift picker
    Location:
    A Swede living in Glasgow, Scotland
    Home Page:
    Sssssshhhhh......ffs....or people will start receiving Monopoly sets here!




    Interesting though!
     
  3. pattle

    pattle Member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2013
    Messages:
    692
    Likes Received:
    14
    Trophy Points:
    18
    I think that it was MI9 that did this, although they were sent my other means and not via the Red Cross as MI9 did not want to risk ruining the Red Cross's credibility and reputation. MI9 was the department within British intelligence that specialised in helping pow's and downed airmen to escape from the continent, British intelligence understood that guarding pow's and searching for escapees etc was a drain on German resources.
     
  4. s1chris

    s1chris Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2011
    Messages:
    640
    Likes Received:
    10
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Occupation:
    Original gangster
    Location:
    Jamaica
    #4 s1chris, Oct 14, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2013
    I only found this out three hours ago and I'm already planning on buying eBay's current lot of offerings.

    I wonder if the modern day equivalent would be just as effective if smuggled inside an Xbox lol.

    Back on subject -

    I have doubts about the whole thing.

    1) given that the maps supposedly had safe houses and key resistance details on them.
    This was apparently concealed within the "Scotty Dog" playing piece and when broken open (card counters due to metal usage restrictions etc) there would be a silk escape map. What I doubt is that this much data about key resistance locations would be sent in uncontrolled parcels. Still it's possible.

    2) real local currency hidden inside the deck of Monopoly money. My doubt is. What if the Red Cross parcels were intercepted and the German guards fancied a game of gold old Monopoly. It wouldn't take the Gestapo to work out what was going on if the money was discovered.

    The only way I can sort of justify this is that Mi9 and the Waddingtons knowing that monopoly takes at least three weeks to complete a game, took a chance and realised that Germans would have got bored and packed the whole thing away.

    Does anybody have contact with any former POW's who could confirm the claims?

    Cheers Chris
     
  5. s1chris

    s1chris Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2011
    Messages:
    640
    Likes Received:
    10
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Occupation:
    Original gangster
    Location:
    Jamaica
    #5 s1chris, Oct 14, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2013
    Pattle - Thanks. Your explanation clarifies a few points I had doubts about.

    Any photographs or examples in existence?

    Cheers Chris
     
  6. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2008
    Messages:
    47,630
    Likes Received:
    1,415
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Cheshire, UK
    The silk maps being marked with anything other than normal features sounds very 'fishy' to me, such things as 'friendly' forces, safe houses or Resistance cells would definitely not be marked on any map, silk or otherwise, and to be honest, the whole process seems open to huge risk.
    That said, there were some rather hair-brained and ludicrous things dreamed up by the spooks during WW2, so at least part of it might be true.
    The other doubt is the method of getting the parcels to any particular PoW camp - as far as I'm aware, parcels could only be assembled and delivered via the Red Cross organisation, so how did these parcels get from the UK to the right area, to be delivered to the Germans for delivery to the camps??!!
    Additionally, such things as button compasses and silk escape maps, were part of air crew issue, and a compass can be made quite simply, and were made, by PoW's, as were local area maps, at least, from 'Intelligence' gathered on work parties, transit between camps, and overall general geographic knowledge, particularly with air crew.
    Certainly air crew, and those operatives of SOE and OSS working 'behind the lines' might be given vague information about the approximate location of a contact point in any given area, but this would be in the form of "Make for Angers, and visit the Cafe Noir" sort of thing.
    Finally, I've heard of PoWs making such things as Monopoly sets, Drafts, playing cards etc, but those former PoWs I've known, have never mentioned such things as these being delivered!
     
  7. s1chris

    s1chris Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2011
    Messages:
    640
    Likes Received:
    10
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Occupation:
    Original gangster
    Location:
    Jamaica
    Thanks Terry. "Apparently" this particular way of concealing and delivering escape equipment was only declassified in 2007 in case there was a need to use it again.

    This in itself I think is a bit dubious and kind of falls down with the readily available X-ray facilities in use for a long period of time. The compass for sure would show up and even a mass inside an object would appear different to the rest of the objects.

    Another claim is that they were delivered from the manufactures to an unrelated office address iirc in London Victoria and collected from there for forwarding.

    Apparently aircrew were briefed of their existence and the POW monopoly board was identified with a red "printing error" square in the Free parking square of the board. Given that aircrew were aware of the existence of such an item and secrets act or not I think this would have become public knowledge well before now.
     
  8. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2008
    Messages:
    47,630
    Likes Received:
    1,415
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Cheshire, UK
    I think so too. As I mentioned, part of it might be true, but there's also a possibility that the whole thing is an elaborate hoax, or scam - especially if, suddenly, there are a number of the sets appearing for sale on a particular Internet auction site. Remember the supposed BoB veteran's Log Book you mentioned?
    Further research would be needed before any investment is made, and the first port of call would be the National Archives, were the 'de-Classified' documents will be held.
     
  9. s1chris

    s1chris Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2011
    Messages:
    640
    Likes Received:
    10
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Occupation:
    Original gangster
    Location:
    Jamaica
    Agreed Terry. I cant find currently for sale or even in past sales any Monopoly set described as above.
    There are plenty of ww2 era sets for sale for around £10 so I might just get one and try and see if it's possible to conceal such items.

    One thing I have found out that may bust the myth is the claim of the map being inside the Scotty dog.
    All of the 1940's sets I have seen don't have a Scotty dog! That's either because it wasn't a game piece at that time or! All of the sets I have seen were POW sets and they have just had the Scotty dog either used at the time or other people are hunting the Scotty dogs down for the same reason.

    I'm going with option 1 but I just know that I will now be obsessed with bloody monopoly Scotty dogs.
    Christ what is the world coming to? Curse of the Scotty Dogs!
     
  10. s1chris

    s1chris Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2011
    Messages:
    640
    Likes Received:
    10
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Occupation:
    Original gangster
    Location:
    Jamaica
    Confirmed - the Scotty dog wasn't added until the 50's!
     
  11. pattle

    pattle Member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2013
    Messages:
    692
    Likes Received:
    14
    Trophy Points:
    18
    I first heard about this from a TV doc featuring actual MI-9 workers, MI-9 had a lot of clever ideas about how to get things in to camps and I while believe the bare bones of this story are true I doubt the details. I believe the Americans also had a way of not only getting info and items into camps but also importantly a method of getting info out of camps. From memory I believe the Americans may have deliberately planted specially trained people into camps and that info was returned home through coded letters, again through memory I seem to recall that the info returned home included details of units resting in Germany that sometimes guarded camps etc.
     
  12. silence

    silence Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2012
    Messages:
    579
    Likes Received:
    54
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Occupation:
    Masters Candidate in History
    Location:
    Yuba City, California
    Wait a minute - what's this about "completing a game of Monopoly"? Show me video or it didn't happen.

    Completing Monopoly.... HA! Right.....
     
  13. s1chris

    s1chris Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2011
    Messages:
    640
    Likes Received:
    10
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Occupation:
    Original gangster
    Location:
    Jamaica
    It's a myth also. Nobody playing more than two player Monopoly has ever lived to tell the tale.
     
  14. s1chris

    s1chris Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2011
    Messages:
    640
    Likes Received:
    10
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Occupation:
    Original gangster
    Location:
    Jamaica
    Hi Pattle, any further information on the specifics would be appreciated. I really want to try and get some of these into my collection if they can be found. Even if just to recreate them using vintage examples of the items etc.

    Cheers Chris
     
  15. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
    Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2007
    Messages:
    23,053
    Likes Received:
    993
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Animal Control Officer
    Location:
    Southern New Jersey
    What would the map depict?? Cuba?

    sounds fishy.........................
     
  16. pattle

    pattle Member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2013
    Messages:
    692
    Likes Received:
    14
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Sorry I can't remember, I watch a lot of stuff on the history channel and I am pretty sure I saw it on there or a similar channel, somebody else must have seen the same documentary?
     
  17. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2008
    Messages:
    15,185
    Likes Received:
    2,027
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Public Safety Automotive Technician
    Location:
    Redding, California
    Home Page:
  18. Soldier

    Soldier Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2013
    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Location:
    Kansas, USA
  19. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2008
    Messages:
    47,630
    Likes Received:
    1,415
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Cheshire, UK
    Good stuff, and I retract my previously stated doubts. I checked some of my references and old notes, and there is a brief mention of items (type not stated) being smuggled in, concealed in games and other items - even a camera and film!
    Also, during my time 'on the road' in the photo/printing industry, I visited Waddington's a couple of times, and dimly recall a small 'wartime' exhibition display in the reception foyer, I think in the late 1980's or maybe 1990, which included various printed items, one of which was a silk map. Can't remember all the details, as I didn't have time to study the display.
     
  20. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2008
    Messages:
    10,674
    Likes Received:
    676
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Urban Design/Strategic Studies Tutor
    Location:
    Orange NSW
    adds a whole new meaning to the "get out of jail free" card.....
     
Loading...

Share This Page