Thanks again to our reliable News Scout, Virg Hemphill (at left), we have this short (3:38) video of the new Singapore Airport. Its latest expansion seemed to spare nothing, and cost some 1.3 BILLION dollars to complete. It might have been worth it. What do you think? It’s now held that prestigious title for some seven (7) years running. Its new lifestyle hub is appropriately entitled the “JEWEL.” The airport itself is called “Changi.”
This story is thanks to a submission by Roger Nichols, former Flight Captain of the El Paso Daedalians, and a long-time FASF enthusiast and member. The following is from an Internet Fact-Checking group, “Truth or Fiction,” which ascertained the truthfulness of a number of similar fact-based stories about this interesting aspect of WWII. This summarizes their own research into the tale:
The Monopoly board game was created in 1933 by Charles Darrow who approached Parker Brothers regarding the marketing of the game. At first, Parker Brothers turned him down but two years later purchased the game from Darrow and today it is one the most popular board games in the world.
Silk maps of Germany, Italy, Norway and Sweden did exist during the Second World War, according to an article written by Debbie Hall for the Map Forum magazine in 1999. Debbie Hall has a special interest in silk maps and was the Map Curator at the British Library, where some of these silk maps are currently on display.
According to the article, The Waddington PLC company in England manufactured playing cards and game boards including the ones for Monopoly that were marketed in Great Britain. Monopoly games were sent to British prisoners of war in Germany by the International Red Cross. According to Hall, Silk maps of the area were hidden in the games along with special features such as a file and compass, made to look like game pieces, along with real currency hidden in the monopoly play money to aid the prisoners in their escape.
This was not the plan of MI-5 , however, but rather an idea from another branch of the British secret service. Hall explained that in 1939, the British government had set up an agency designated as MI-9 whose primary mission was to assist resistance fighters behind enemy lines and recover Allied troops being held prisoner.
MI-9 developed the military policy of escape and evasion and that it was the “duty of all those captured to try to escape if possible.” Hall said, “One man who was behind many of M19’s most ingenious plans, including the Waddington project, was Christopher Clayton-Hutton.” This agency found out that the Waddington Company had the technology to print maps on on silk and made a special request of the company. Silk maps made no noise, took up very little space and could be folded into a garment or hidden in a package of cigarettes. A tiny compass was also hidden in uniform buttons and used as a tool for escape in case a pilot was shot down behind enemy lines.
Truth or Fiction recently spoke to Bill Knowles, a former Canadian pilot who flew with the RAF on D Day. Knowles told us that, druing the latter days of the conflict in Europe, any escape routes and safe house information were generally memorized by pilots, by the time he was flying missions, and that no un-coded information would have been printed on anything that could have been intercepted by the enemy as that could have endangered all involved in these types of operations.
The British Official Secrets Act is what bound everybody involved to secrecy and we have sent an inquiry to the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in the UK to verify if this story has truly been de-classified and no longer confidential.
Here’s one of most popularly circulated stories about this Monoply game scheme on today’s Internet, and it actually appears to be fact-based and essentially true:
Starting in 1941, an increasing number of British airmen found themselves as the involuntary guests of the Third Reich, and the authorities were casting-about for ways and means to facilitate their escape. Now obviously, one of the most helpful aids to that end is a useful and accurate map, one showing not only where-stuff-was, but also showing the locations of ‘safe houses’, where a POW on-the-loose could go for food and shelter. Paper maps had some real drawbacks: They make a lot of noise when you open and fold them, they wear-out rapidly and if they get wet, they turn into mush.
Someone in MI-5 (actually, the project ended up in a new branch of the spy agency: MI-9) got the idea of printing escape maps on silk. It’s durable, can be scrunched-up into tiny wads, and unfolded as many times as needed, and makes no noise what-so-ever. At that time, there was only one manufacturer in Great Britain that had perfected the technology of printing on silk, and that was John Waddington, Ltd.
When approached by the government, the firm was only too happy to do its bit for the war effort. By pure coincidence, Waddington was also the U.K. Licensee for the popular American board game, Monopoly. As it happened, ‘games and pastimes’ was a category item qualified for insertion into ‘CARE packages’, dispatched by the International Red Cross, to prisoners of war.
Under the strictest of secrecy, in a securely guarded and inaccessible old workshop on the grounds of Waddington’s, a group of sworn-to-secrecy employees began mass-producing escape maps, keyed to each region of Germany or Italy where Allied POW camps were located (Red Cross packages were delivered to prisoners in accordance with that same regional system). When processed, these maps could be folded into such tiny dots that they would actually fit inside a Monopoly playing piece.
As long as they were at it, the clever workmen at Waddington’s also managed to add:
1. A playing token, containing a small magnetic compass,
2. A two-part metal file that could easily be screwed together.
3. Useful amounts of genuine high-denomination German, Italian, and French currency, hidden within the piles of
British and American air-crews were advised, before taking off on their first mission, how to identify a ‘rigged’ Monopoly set by means of a tiny red dot, one cleverly rigged to look like an ordinary printing glitch, located in the corner of the Free Parking square! Of the estimated 35,000 Allied POWS who successfully escaped, an
estimated one-third were aided in their flight by the rigged Monopoly sets.
Everyone who did so was sworn to secrecy Indefinitely, since the British Government might want to use this highly successful use in still another, future war.
The story wasn’t de-classified until 2007, when the surviving craftsmen from Waddington’s, as well as the firm itself, were finally honoured in a public ceremony. Anyway, it’s always nice when you can play that ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card.
**** Your editor feels that any listing concealed in the “CARE” packages distributed via the Red Cross would NOT have included any lists of “Safe Houses,” since doing so would expose those who kept such safe havens open and active could be far too easily revealed, thereby posing a direct threat to their lives, not to mention terminating their underground activities.
If you have any other information about this piece of WWII history, please let us know and we’d be glad to print it here. Or, if you have any information to add to this story, please do share it with us. Thanks!
This video is about the life of Triple Ace Robin Olds, one of America’s greatest fighter pilots, who also became one of America’s most colorful military mavericks. While the video is lengthy (1:43:45) it gives a moving description of one of America’s greatest USAF Aces.
The story laced with some fascinating historical insights, such as when Robin met with President Johnson during the Vietnam conflict. The fighting Colonel’s retort to the President’s query about how it was going “over there,” is a classic,* and helps reveal the utter insanity of our official engagement philosophy in that post WWII controversial “conflict.” * This particular thought-provoking incident is at 49:49 into the film. See photo below. To enlarge the below photo, just click on it.
The video is produced by Jarel and Betty Wheaton of and for the “Peninsula (Palos Verdes, CA) Seniors” group. The film is essentially of Robin’s daughter, Christina Olds’ recollections of her father’s extraordinarily colorful life, on a visit by the group to the Torrance, CA (suburbof Los Angeles) Western Museum of Flight. The video is interspersed with a large number of photographs of her Dad, his planes and pals, from throughout his unusual career.
Christina has written a popular book (above photo) about her Dad, ” Fighter Pilot: The Memoirs of Legendary Ace Robin Olds.
Thanks to the untiring efforts of our 1st VP, Jason Adams, the FASF now has its own local NM State Historical Marker firmly planted near our historic 1916 Airfield, which, as Columbus Mayor Bruce D’Salas’ official business card proudly states: is “The Cradle of American Air Power.”
Let’s take a photographic look at the sequence of actual physical events that took place before the two-year long process of obtaining state approval for the Historic Marker was successfully completed.
The entire lengthy process took place under the jurisdiction of the New Mexico Department of Culltural Affairs. The Department’s web pages describe the process involved: “The markers happen through a strong partnership among the Historic Preservation Division, the Cultural Properties Review Committee, New Mexico Department of Transportation – and the public.”
All of these agencies and groups must have been queried and counselled in order for such a Historical Marker to be approved, and then finally contructed for the site it represents. As you might imagine, Jason had a big task in hand to get this objective reallized, and it took no small amount of patience to weather the long process involved in the achievement. But, today, we now have this marker in place, with its own highway tourist/visitor pull-off parking area so that passing motorists can conveniently pull off state Highway 9, right in the town of Columbus itself, to safely read both sides of the sign’s historical inscription.
Remember: Just click on any photo below to see it in full-size and hi-resolution!
The 8th Fighter Squadron (Fighting Patch at left) has been with us since November of 1940, when it was first organized at Selfridge Army Air Field, in Michigan. Decommissioned for a while, it is now back in the front lines of our Air Defense against any would be adversaries. This weekend saw its first graduating class of new F-16 Viper pilots since its arrival last year at Holloman Air Force Base, near Alamagordo, NM. According to the Squadon’s commander, Lt. Colonel Mark Sletten, each of the evening’s graduates’ training has cost the Air Force about eight (8) million dollars.
The squadron is best known as the Black Sheep Squadron of World War II fame and for one of its commanding officers, Colonel Gregory “Pappy” Boyington, one of WWII’s top USMC fighter Aces, whose memoirs inspired the 1970s television show “Baa Baa Black Sheep,” later syndicated as Black Sheep Squadron, which dramatized the squadron’s exploits during the war.
Although the original “Black Sheep” group was composed of USMC pilots, their Squadron no longer exists, so it’s been reborne, but this time as a USAF Fighter Squadron, not a USMC outfit. (This clarification the suggestion of Capt. Robbie Ritchie).
“These guys get to be a part of a very special fraternity and we have absolutely trained them up well to go out and be a part of that fraternity, the combat arms we know and love,” said Lt. Col. Mark Sletten, 8th FS commander. “For them to be a part of the greatest nation, the greatest
military, greatest service and of course the greatest platform – the F-16, leaving here tonight as qualified F-16 pilots makes us all proud.”
Getting all of the people shown below properly identified could not have been done without the indispensible assistance of the Daedalian Leadership Awardee, Captain Robbie “Ramm” Ritchie,* who made sure we properly identified all those shown. Prior to this specialized fighter training with the 8th, Captain Ritchie had been an instructor pilot. The name used for such already experienced new Basic students is FAIP, which stands for: First Assignment Instructor Pilot. This prior duty assignment helps account for Robbie’s rank of Captain.
Remember: Click on any photo below to show it in hight resolution and full-size.
Below, is the the class video, 11 minutes long, which shows many clips taken from the months of fllight and fighter training the eight members of this first graduating class of the 8th Fighter Squadron experienced in their work with the Viper Fighter. Aside from a few inserts of actual wartime footage target anihilation (taken in the mideast), the video content was primarily taken by the students or HAFB Public Affairs videographers during their training activities. The video gives the viewer and unique insight into the experience these young men went through this past year at Holloman.
The film uses a number of special effects for the dramatization of some of the student experiences, such as refueling practice and of the TDY (Temporary Duty assignment) to Louisiana’s Bayou country. The video was produced by class member, Lt. Evan Wade, and also shows, quite graphically, to where each of the graduates will be going for their front line fighter assignment. This video can be seen best when your monitor is set to full-screen mode. Lt. Wade garners some top-gun kudos for his excellent production.
* Here is part of the official HAFB Public Affairs Office news release concerning Daedalian Award Recipient, Capt Robbie Ritchie:
This class’ recipient of the coveted Daedalian Flight 24 Leadership Award this
year, was Capt. Robert Ritchie. The Captain, one of the 8th Fighter Squadron F-16
Basic-Course graduates, always knew he wanted to be a fighter pilot.
Ritchie’s father is a retired Air Force pilot who flew C-130s and T-38s, before
flying for a commercial airline out of Minnesota.
“I was one of those kids that built model aircraft and hung them from the ceiling,”
said Ritchie. “My childhood bedroom was one big aerial battle.”
Ritchie graduated with an undergraduate degree followed by a Masters of Science in
aerospace engineering from the University of Minnesota, before leaving for Officer
Training School at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.
Of the eight Viper pilots to graduate from Class 18-CBF, Ritchie was one of five who
were First Assignment Instructor Pilots “FAIP” trained on another aircraft before coming
“On behalf of Class 18-CBF, I can honestly say our experience training here on Holloman
Air Force Base has been one of the most professional experiences that we have ever been
involved with,” said Ritchie. “From the jets, to the instructors, to the maintainers,
to the air traffic controllers, how the base is run and everything in-between.”
Here, below, is a short (7 min) and well produced video from LionHart FilmWorks:
23 distinct styles of dress which represents and honors the American Patriots and Pioneers who helped found the United States and the U.S. Army Soldiers who served while wearing these uniforms, weapons, and accouterments — during some of the most well-known and significant conflicts since the first militia musters of the 17th century. Shot in 4K and featuring Mark Aaron as “the soldier.”
As accurately as we possibly could… telling the story of the United States Army Soldier… one uniform at a time – and that of course shows what was worn by the First Aero Squadron’s men during the Punitive Expedition here in Columbus, NM – 103 years ago – which is identical to the uniform they also wore, when they left here, and deployed to Europe for WWI.
Twenty-two (22) conflicts since our beginnings. Too many battles and wars in these 400 years?
- 1620s – Jamestown / Plymouth Militia
- 1775 – Lexington Green Minuteman
- 1778 – Continental Soldier in French “Lottery Coat”
- 1781 – Light Infantryman in Hunting shirt
- 1792 – Legion of the United States
- 1812-1815 – War of 1812
- 1846 – Mexican War
- 1860 – West Point Cadet
- 1862 – Volunteer Officer
- 1864 – Western Theater Infantryman
- 1876 – Plains Indian Wars 7th Cavalryman
- 1898 – Spanish-American War Infantry
- 1918 – WW1 Doughboy
- 1942 – WW2 Pacific Theater Soldier
- 1944 – 101st Airborne in Normandy
- 1945 – 29th Infantry Division Captain
- 1952 – Korean War Infantryman
- 1965 – Early Vietnam Officer
- 1969 – Vietnam “Grunt”
- 1980s – Grenada / Panama
- 1991 – Gulf War
- 2004 – Iraq War Modern U.S. Army in Garrison
Directed/Produced: Kevin R. Hershberger Cinematography: Hugh Burruss Costumers: Nathan Hoffman & Brennan Wheatley Grip / Electric: Brian Lyles Costumes & Props: Historical Wardrobe – Richmond, VA
Some other videos you might like on the Lionheart Channel:
“Civil War Uniforms of Blue & Grey – The Evolution” Volume 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LqeT6…
“Civil War Uniforms of Blue & Grey – The Evolution” Volume 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8MAl…
Cpl. Freddie Stowers – 1918 Medal Of Honor Moment: https://youtu.be/tRcy2plxPQs
U.S. Army Battles & History – World War Two – Heroism & Honor: https://youtu.be/ldnpvOFn7fE
Lt. Robert T. Waugh – 1944 Medal Of Honor Moment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HwpJn…
Medal of Honor Moment – Sergeant York: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ad9FW…
The speaker scheduled for this last Spring meeting fell ill and couldn’t make the luncheon, so the El Paso General “Nick” Nichols’ Flight 24 simply turned its focus back on its own members, and towards making sure its most recent past Flight Captain, Roger Nichols (General Nichols’ son), had a proper send-off.
Roger will soon leave to be near his children and grandchildren in Oklahoma. Because the Flight had some extra time, because of the absence of the scheduled speaker, it turned its attention towards gaining a more detailed insight into each of the member’s individual careers, both in the service, and in their later civilian lives. Here, below, are the photos of today’s event – and of each member sharing some of their unique personal history.
Today’s luncheon was also one to which the member’s wives and/or guests were invited. Because Flight Captain, Colonel Mario Campos, was out of state, Vice Captain, Ric Lambart presided. He shared a group of photos which were taken over the weekend during the regular annual “Dining Out” celebration held at New Mexico State University (NMSU) by the local Air Force ROTC Detachment 505. Many years ago, flight Provost Marshall, Alan Fisher, had actually commanded that same AFROTC unit.
Both Mario and Ric had been invited to attend AFROTC event. Colonel Campos, once an AFROTC cadet himself, was the featured speaker. He shared what the cadets might expect during their own upcoming USAF assignments based on his own experiences.
(All of the below photos may be seen full-size and in High Resolution, by clicking on them)