Sometime towards the end of November 2009 Pete Chicken was browsing though the catalogue of an auction house in Wiltshire. Buried in an obscure corner he found reference to lot number 212, an old, large and discoloured map of Western Europe. 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; this map, aside from the shaded outline of the coast and a couple of major conurbations would provide few features of interest to the motorist or the student. The land was a strange pink colour and had a curious lozenge shaped route inked on it in fountain pen. Starting fromĀ 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 and Adrian Woolrich-Burt put together the story behind the map, and discovered as much as they could about that one night in December …