Sometime towards the end of February 2009 Pete Chicken was browsing though the catalogue of an auction house in Wiltshire. Buried in the corner of an inside page he found reference to lot number 407, an old, large and discoloured map of Western Europe.

This was not a road map, nor the sort of map once found in classrooms which listed countries and rivers around the margin, and were the torment of schoolboys made to memorise them. Aside from the shaded outline of the coast and a couple of major conurbations this map would provide few features of interest to the motorist or the student. The land was coloured a curious medicinal pink and had a lozenge shaped route inked on it in fountain pen. Starting from a point in eastern England these straight lines stretched south over France and across to Venice, then turned abruptly northwards, over Munich and back to the English coast.

It was not however the odd colour, the route or the size which attracted his attention, it was a handwritten note near the top. “Date 17.12.44, DX-B, F/O Campbell”.

He bought it at once.

This blog is the story of how he, Rob Fullerton and Adrian Woolrich-Burt put together the story behind the map, and discovered as much as they could about that one night in December …