A daily dose of textiles,cloth and materials for all who are passionate about the stuff.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Silk Escape Maps. Day 1

As many of you know I have long been fascinated by the History of Textiles - having taught this for many years and using old textiles in my art work. Today, for my birthday my dear husband Trevor has given me a lovely present of something I have wanted in my textile collection for many a year. He tracked it down on an auction site and in the post today came this wonderful Silk Escape Map.
This one is from the Cold War era around the early 50's and shows Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia and Austria. The reverse depicts Austria, Poland and Hungary. It would have been used by RAF and SAS service men and women.
Escape maps were used by the Allied Forces in WW2 and the Cold War when they needed to find their way home ! from behind enemy lines. They were sewn into clothing and being silk were strong and durable-  and didn't disintegrate as a paper map would do.

Beautifully printed and issued by the War Office, these really were a useful textile item.
It begs the question of how many silk escape maps were made into knickers by forces wives and girlfriends !!!!!
I might just frame mine !!!


  1. Fascinating - I've heard of them but never seen one!!
    Lucky you!

    1. BTW I'm your first follower on your new blog!

  2. Welcome Gill, thanks for being my very first follower on my new blog. Hope you enjoy textiles as much as I do.xxx

  3. My husband has a tie made out of one of these maps from WWW2.

  4. Had not even heard of these maps. Fascinating and how wonderful that you have one (hubby is a "keeper"!!) Framing seems totally appropriate!

  5. Irene, make sure you keep the tie for your collection- don't let him wear it!!! LOL.

  6. Kelly, yes they a wonderful piece of textile history. My husband is 'textile trained' very well now. After 41 years being married to me he reckons he could win a quiz show if it was a textile question !! LOL

  7. That's fascinating, I know my mother made my Christening robe from parachute silk!

  8. We take so much for granted now Heather, just pop to the shops and buy it! But not all the make do and mend mothers. My mum made a ball gown from black out curtains. She went to a function in a posh London hotel and had many admiring glances - I wonder if she told anyone?

  9. Well! I never knew that, though now you mention it, it seems so logical!

  10. I brought back items from our mom's house after her passing. I have three cloth maps that were given to my dad when he was in WWII. All are made of silk cloth. One is of Upper Burma, one is No. 30 of South Burma and the Asiatic series and the smallest one has an American flag on it and in different languages says "I am an Allied Fighter" and it asks for help to drive away the Japanese. Dad was ten years older than mom, so when he went into the service at age 18, she was only 8. They married when mom was 18! These are pretty cool maps. Bomber gunner's daughter.