View Full Version : Evasion & Escape Devices

25th Jan 2015, 07:39
This looks like a fascinating read for anyone interested in WWII E&E equipment.. (the price is an ouch though)
This book describes the design, manufacture, covert shipment and use of the many ingenious evasion and escape devices provided to Allied troops during World War II. Following the fall of mainland Europe, hostile Allied actions against land-based Axis forces were generally limited to air attacks. However, as the numbers of those attacks increased, the number of aircraft and crews failing to return grew alarmingly: something needed to be done to provide these air crews with aids to enable them to evade to safe territory or escape captivity, or losses of irreplaceable crews would become critical. Britain's MI-9 and U.S. MIS-X organisations were formed solely to support evaders and prisoners of war in occupied territories. They developed a wide variety of evasion and escape devices that were given to Allied Forces prior to operations in hostile territory or delivered clandestinely to POWs. It worked: the aids facilitated the return of thousands of men to their units.

25th Jan 2015, 10:39
The RAF Escaping Society have a exhibition at East Kirby museum of the various kit used in WW2. They even have the RAF films produced to inform aircrew's how to handle interrogation.

25th Jan 2015, 11:53
As children, one of my father's RAF items that fascinated us the most was the 'compass in a uniform button'.

Since they wore uniform when flying and would be entitled to wear it in a PoW camp, the button was to help them evade capture or aid escape. We marvelled at the engineering and how tightly it screwed together.

26th Jan 2015, 13:34
The RAF Museum has a range of Escape and Evasion aids available in its online shop (http://navigator.rafmuseum.org/results.do;jsessionid=14B980E6D43FA634FB23CC55C72F2BEB?page= 1&view=lightbox).. but it's clear from looking at what's on offer that the aircrew of WWII were a very different beast compared to today's variety .
Just look at all the trick braces, baccy pouches, pipes, cuff links, hair brushes, collar studs etc.. (as used by 20 year olds!)

26th Jan 2015, 13:35
When I was on 35 Sqn back in the late '70s, we still had a box full of those old silk maps, button compasses etc. I wonder what happened to them when the squadron folded?

26th Jan 2015, 13:51
We marvelled at the engineering and how tightly it screwed together. And ISTR machined with a left hand thread to make accidental discovery even less likely .......:ok:

26th Jan 2015, 18:18
Sidevalve - that's not the online shop; it's a selection of material from their collection. If you go to Navigator - Online Collections from the Royal Air Force Museum (http://navigator.rafmuseum.org/) you can click on a series of pages showing escape and evasion devices. It shows how ingenious MI9 was.

joy ride
26th Jan 2015, 18:36
I saw a TV programme about escape equipment on TV. The compass buttons originally had normal threads, then the Germans figured them out, word got back to MI9 who changed to LH thread. Later the Germans figured this out and MI9 went back to RHT, always one step ahead!

27th Jan 2015, 09:00
My Great Uncle had my Great Grandmother sew his evasion compass on his battledress.I mention it as it was still talked about long after his death. I guess it was given to operational aircrew when they joined a squadron?