View Full Version : The Escape Factory WWII

Mike Peters
26th June 2009, 08:38 PM
It's always been one of my favorite Topics …and there’s a fantastic Book out that covers it in depth – “ The Escape Factory”
It's been out of print now but I bet you can still find a copy through Amazon or Abebooks.

Here's a great site that covers it --

There was also a Monopoly Game produced for the POW's that I'd love to find
-- http://www.cnn.com/2007/LIVING/wayof...oly/index.html By Brian McMahon

The Silk escape maps are around ...and I bet if you looked hard enough (and spent hard enough) I bet an original Monopoly game could be found. There is still a good amount of these clandestine /POW/ Resistance items floating around and I bet in some cases , people don't even know what they have.

I have a items including a "spy" radio in my collection ...The "MCR" Radio was designed to be hidden in a Biscuit Tin . One could actually hide the radio in their overcoat and walk around listening to the BBC (unless you were at the beach ..) I don't know if they'd be considered super rare but , I was thrilled to find an example. Here's a site for it --


Mike Peters
26th June 2009, 08:41 PM
These Radios were supplied to and used by the Resistance groups . Officially , it was known as Midget Communications Receiver Type 36/l. It was described as being mounted in a sealed watertight tinned steel container holding a sealed cardboard carton.
They could be used with either a battery or ..an external power supply AC/D.C. of 97 to 250 volts.. The one I have has only one Coil but it does have the external supply which is hard to find since most wouldn’t have a clue what it belonged to.
Designed and produced in 1942 -43, the “Biscuit” was a full-range, highly sensitive, super heterodyne receiver with 5 miniature tubes.
It was delivered in a 2-pound “Huntley-Palmer” cookie tin ( Biscuit Tin ) which also contained the coil units, 3 batteries or 2 batteries and a power supply pack, 30 feet of aerial wire and 10 feet of ground wire.
The battery provided an average of 30 hours’ reception time so I don't think they spent time listening to Glen Miller very much.
With no matching transmitter, operatives were only able to listen for messages. No doubt many of the strange wartime BBC messages (eg "there are 3 apples on the orange tree") were meant for these receivers.

Here’s a site that has one for sale right now –

Mike Peters
26th June 2009, 08:43 PM
I thought I better add the text from that site in case it gets erased at some point --

"Spy Set MCR1
This much sought after clandestine receiver,usually referred to as "The MCR1 Spy Set", will probably need little introduction ,as most serious collectSpy Set,MCR1ors of vintage radio equipment are well aware of this very desirable potential addition to their collections.A brief description of this Spy Set may non the less be in order.The set itself comprises a very compact receiver,which uses 5 miniature tubes(valves) and plug in coils.It is not uncommon to find that some of the coils are missing,but this set has the full compliment of 4 coils,covering the following ranges;100Kc’s to 1600 Kc’s,2.5 Mc’s to 5 Mc’s,4.5Mc@s to 8Mc’s and 8Mc’s to 15 Mc’s.This vintage radio Spy Set was designed to be operated either directly from a 90 volt B+ (HT) supply, or, from a plug-in companion power supply unit which enabled the receiver to operate on four ranges of AC Mains voltages,between 97-115 volts and 221-250 volts.The example of this Spy Set which is on offer,includes the Plug-in power supply.The output of the set is designed to suit any 120 ohms headphones.The correct interconnecting lead for use with the power supply is included with the set.This Spy Set is in excellent original condition and in view of it’s very considerable value as a collector’s item,no attempt has been made to apply power to it.It would seem to us ,to be a great shame to risk the original electrolitics etc.,just for the sake of seeing if the Spy Set worked.Others of course,may take a different view.The price of the Spy Set,including the 4 Plug-in coils,the power supply and a copy of the user manual, which features a wonderfully evocative sketch of a" TypicalSpy",showing how to conceal the Spy Set in the clothing of the Spy,with for example,the counterpoise antenna down the leg of the Spy’s trousers!,is $1425 U.S.Dollars, including air transport to the USA."http://freespace.virgin.net/mark.rop...ic.htm#spyset1

Mike Peters
26th June 2009, 08:46 PM
Here’s another interesting item ..one of the famed Compass Buttons . I believe this style was British but , I’ve read that it was also used by American Airmen as well.
It still works great


iron bender
27th June 2009, 06:14 PM
The compass button is awesome. I've never seen one like this. I've only seen the WWI US large coat buttons.

Mike Peters
27th June 2009, 06:18 PM
The compass button is awesome. I've never seen one like this. I've only seen the WWI US large coat buttons.

Thanks for that ...I just bought another style Compass Button and , I can't find where I put it
guess I'm gettin old:confused:
I'll post it as soon as I remember

(you can stop laughing now) :rolleyes:

Mike Peters
27th June 2009, 08:32 PM
I found it !!
I read one interview where an Airman was told that if they were shot down over enemy territory , he should swallow this Compass and retrieve it later.

Here's a site that shows it hidden inside a Uniform Button --