Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Replicating Q's secret WW2 pencil

1. The Cumberland Pencil Museum, Keswick (foreground)
[Behind is the wartime pencil factory building]
2. Telling the story of "Q" (Charles Fraser Smith)
[Display in the pencil museum's gift shop]
3. A replica of Q's WW2 secret 'map and compass' pencil
[A special edition for the 70th anniversary of V.E. Day]
 For additional information click on 'Comments' below. 


Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Additional information

A special pencil for the 70th anniversary of V.E. Day

In 2015 the Cumberland Pencil Museum at Keswick, Cumbria (previously Cumberland) marked the 70th anniversary of V.E. Day, the end of the war in Europe, by replicating the special ‘map and compass’ pencils made in secret at the factory during WW2. The front of the museum and part of the former pencil factory can be seen in Photograph No 1 (above).

The story of the wartime Cumberland ‘map and compass’ pencils, the brainchild of Charles Fraser Smith (“Q” of the British secret service), can be found elsewhere on this website. To read this article [click here].

A small number of replica WW2 ‘map and compass’ pencils were manufactured in 1999 to mark the Millennium of the Common Era. After gathering together enough materials for a slightly larger production run the new set of replicas was manufactured in 2015. In addition, a booklet “Keswick’s Airmen” and a DVD about the secret life of Charles Fraser Smith, “The Real Q” (made by his son) have also been made and are available for sale in the museum’s gift shop [Photograph No. 2].

During WW2 the secret map and compass pencil was an aid to airmen who had been shot down in Occupied Europe. The modern replicas come in a wooden box and have a complete pencil as well as all the component parts that make up the secret pencil [Photograph No. 3]. However, the replica map is of the Cumbrian Lake District rather than one of Germany or N.W. Europe as in WW2. The second replica pencil avoids the need to break open the complete pencil.

Written inside the lid of the wooden box is the story of the secret pencil in the following way:

“Printed on very fine paper, the maps were rolled and inserted into the pencil barrel cavity. 4 maps were printed detailing escape routes through Germany and west to the Netherlands, Belgium and south to Switzerland. The metal ferrule, compass and eraser were then fitted. A stamped code denoted which map was enclosed. Pencils were issued to Bomber Command Aircrew in the Royal Air Force and sent to P.O.W. camps. They were a vital part of the wartime escape network.”
For further information about the Cumberland Pencil Museum, click on the following link to the museum’s website:
Cumberland Pencil Museum, Keswick (website)

Tuesday, 30 June, 2015  

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