Remembrance Sunday & Armistice Day
Today is Remembrance Sunday and, on Armistice Day, at the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month – we will remember them.
Around this time each year, we take two minutes in silence to remember military and civilian sacrifices made during conflict. This year, Jaques is reflecting on their years over both Wartime periods. This is what remembrance means to us as a nation... Lest we forget.
Jaques of London have a fascinating Wartime history—you don’t come to be 225 years old, having lived through two World Wars, without some stories.
By the Second World War, in 1939, Jaques of London were recruited to help MI9 in their quest to free Prisoners of War. Chess was very popular at this time and so chess sets were asked to be custom made with hidden compartments to smuggle breakout kits inside—it was a tall order and one of the utmost importance.
Tricks Of The Trade
Sure enough however, hidden within our Whittington Chess Sets were secret compartments. The inside walls of the chess box were hollowed out to stow maps, currency, documents, hacksaw blades and swinger compasses.
Large chess boards were perfect for supplying prisoners with counterfeit documents, maps, currency, and other contraband. Even the chess pieces themselves were hollowed out and used to hold messages, compasses, maps, and dye to help turn uniforms into civilian attire.
Did you know: During this time, the base of the chess pieces were often screwed in with a left turn, so any attempt by the enemy to unscrew the base would only make it tighter!
The specially made game sets were then passed out to British and American prisoners of war through the Red Cross. From start to finish, the effort to release prisoners of war from behind enemy lines was a collaborative one. Something rarely successfully accomplished in such numbers, but an ultimate success for the lives of those men hoping to return home to their families.