It has a lethal dagger stashed inside, while a pencil, also up for auction tomorrow, has a thin blade in place of lead to aid the undercover agent
A treasure trove of deadly gadgets issued to British spies during the Second World War has been unearthed.
Innocent-looking everyday items were converted to deadly weapons by the Special Operations Executive to use behind enemy lines.
The items include a smoking pipe with a detachable mouthpiece which pulls out to reveal a lethal steel dagger.
And a run-of-the-mill travel razor kit has a hidden spike blade in the case. There is also a steel dagger spike which could be concealed in clothing and brandished in life or death situations..
The ‘escape and evasion’ items were amassed by a collector of World War Two memorabilia over the years but have now emerged for auction.
Other ingenious items issued to SOE agents were matchboxes with a hidden compass inside and miniature message containers which could be concealed from prying guards.
One of the lots in the sale is a ‘biscuit tin’ radio transmitter which was used by an agent to receive messages behind enemy lines in occupied Belgium.
Mathew Tredwin, of C&T Auctioneers of Ashford, Kent, said: “The pipe dagger in particular is quite interesting because it is designed to look like an everyday object and the last thing you would expect was for someone to have a dagger concealed in a pipe.
“The pencil and razor kit are very similar and by the time you realised it was a weapon it would be too late.
“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 would 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.
“These stealth weapons are few and far between. Once they were used by the secret agents they were often disposed of.
“They are very popular because of their rarity and the romanticism surrounding the secret service. Every one wants to be James Bond .”
The Special Operations Executive was a British organisation formed to conduct espionage, sabotage and reconnaissance in occupied Europe against the Axis powers and to aid local resistance movements.
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.
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