Spies carried with them equipment to nullify the German opposition
A lethal arsenal of devices our brave spies carried with them to nullify German opposition, has emerged after more than 70 years.
The extraordinary collection consists of seemingly everyday items which, on closer inspection, conceal a lethal device that secret agents could turn to in a do-or-die situation behind enemy lines.
One of the objects is an 'assassination lapel spike' – a decorative steel pin worn on the lapel of a jacket but when fully exposed is a slender 4ins long dagger with a razor-sharp barb.
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Some of these weapons are quite chilling when you look at them now
Experts say it could have been used to overcome a German guard or to slash the tyres of a vehicle in the ongoing campaign of sabotaging enemy operations in Nazi-occupied Europe.
Another of the weapons, originally provided by the government department MI9 to Special Operations Executive agents is a 3ins long dagger disguised as a fountain pen.
Although not as subtle, a length of 'garrote wire' – strip of barbed wire with finger rings attached to either end – was also carried by the brave secret agents and would have proved just as deadly to an unsuspecting sentry.
The collection, now being sold by an anonymous collector from Kent, also includes an escape utility knife which encased three small hacksaw blades, a tyre slasher blade and a wire cutter tool.
An Escape Utility Knife which will be at the auction for £1,000
There is further an iron key that has an end that screws off to reveal the hollow centre where lethal poison could be kept.
All the 'escape and evasion' items have been amassed by the collector of World War Two memorabilia over decades but are now coming up for sale.
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Mathew Tredwin, of C&T Auctioneers of Ashford, Kent, said: "Some of these weapons are quite chilling when you look at them now but they give you an immediacy of a kill or be killed scenario many of these agents woulds have faced.
"You can imagine an SOE operative, many of whom were women, being cornered by a German soldier and all you had was a stealth weapon to fight your way out.
A concealment key which will be sold for £200
"Or on creeping up behind a sentry and disposing of them quietly with the garrote wire. "It was incredibly dangerous. If you were caught that was it, you would be executed."
He added: "They were real heroes of the war and a lot of them didn't get the credit they deserved, many of their stories remain untold.
"These stealth weapons are few and far between. Once they were used by the secret agents they were often disposed of. They were certainly of little after the war.
"It is very rare to find a whole group of them like this one. There are keen collectors out there. I think because of they are very much James Bond in style there is a bit of romanticism attached to them."
The 'assassination lapel spike', when fully exposed is a slender 4ins long dagger
Another item used by SOE operatives included in the sale is a tunic button that concealed a compass.
MI9, a department of the war office between 1939 and 1945, was responsible for producing the concealed weapons.
Among their other creations are shoes with a compass in the heel and combs and pencils with a knife in the middle.
The Special Operations Executive was a British organisation formed to conduct espionage, sabotage and reconnaissance in occupied Europe, and to aid local resistance movements.
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These US Army images appeared to be lost in time but photographer Levi Bettweiser bought 31 rusty reels from an auction in Ohio, USA. The shots, which have been identified as locations across the UK, including Boston Harbour, Lucky Strike Beach and LaHavre Harbour thanks to labels on the reels, shed new light on wartime life for US soldiers.
Mercury Press & Media Ltd/The Rescued Film Project 1 of 33
More than 30 Second World War pictures have finally been developed – 70 years after the end of the conflict.
The organisation directly employed or controlled just over 13,000 people, about 3,200 of whom were women, although few people were aware of SOE's existence.
It was an incredibly risky role as any spy caught by the Nazis was executed.
The items are being sold in separate lots, with the dagger-fountain pen tipped to sell for £500, the utility knife for £1,000, the concealment key for £200 and the lapel spike for £100.
They will be sold by the auctioneers on February 14.
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