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    Exploding RAT and other gadgets used behind the lines in World War Two go up for sale for £20,000

    Medallion hiding deadly blades, lipstick with secret compass and an exploding RAT issued to British secret agents to use behind the lines in World War Two go up for sale for £20,000

    • Chilling collection of gadgets belonged to Dunkirk veteran Arthur Muggeridge
    • Sale also boasts a mini spy camera and chess piece with hidden compartment
    • Auctioneer describes items as ‘frightening and exhilarating at the same time’

    A medallion hiding deadly blades, lipstick with a secret compass and an exploding rat are among the weapons used by British secret agents which have gone up for sale.

    The chilling collection, used behind enemy lines during World War Two, belonged to Dunkirk veteran Arthur Muggeridge and is available for £20,000.

    A taxidermy rodent, stuffed with explosives for blowing up German armament factories, is perhaps the most unusual of the items, along with the slasher French Franc coin. 

    Other weapons issued by MI9 to Special Operations Executive agents were fountain pens with hidden daggers and a simple lump of coal that carried an explosive charge inside it to turn into a small bomb.

    A taxidermy rodent, stuffed with explosives for blowing up German armament factories, is perhaps the most unusual of the items

    A lipstick containing a hidden compass would have been given to a female operative

    A lipstick containing a hidden compass would have been given to a female operative 

    A coin concealing blades

    A coin concealing blades

    The collection includes a normal looking coin (pictured left) which actually contains blades (pictured right)

    Chess sets with secret compartments were sent to PoWs who used these compasses to help plot their daring escapes

    Chess sets with secret compartments were sent to PoWs who used these compasses to help plot their daring escapes

    A close-up of one of the chess pieces which concealed a hidden compass for use behind enemy lines

    A close-up of one of the chess pieces which concealed a hidden compass for use behind enemy lines

    A compass was also concealed in 'escape dice' which make up part of the fascinating collection

    A compass was also concealed in ‘escape dice’ which make up part of the fascinating collection

    A seemingly innocuous looking string vest could be unfurled to produce a strong rope

    A seemingly innocuous looking string vest could be unfurled to produce a strong rope

    Paperwork outlines how the bizarre explosive rat would be used by British secret agents

    Paperwork outlines how the bizarre explosive rat would be used by British secret agents

    Domestic-looking objects deployed were a magnetised razor blade compass, a hacksaw clothes brush with a blade hidden in its handle, and a pen torch.

    The sale boasts a miniature spy camera and radio listening device, as well as a chess piece concealing a hidden compass.

    Chess sets with secret compartments were sent to PoWs who used these compasses to help plot their daring escapes.

    Meanwhile, a lipstick containing a hidden compass would have been given to a female operative, and a compass was also concealed in ‘escape dice’.

    A seemingly innocuous looking string vest could be unfurled to produce a strong rope, while a shaving mirror contains a concealed blade.

    The James Bond-style items were amassed over 40 years by Mr Muggeridge, who served in the Royal Engineers in the war and who died a decade ago.

    His collection of over 100 items is going under the hammer with East Bristol Auctions.

    Auctioneer Andy Stowe said: ‘A big part of the MI9 operation was sending secret items to troops in occupied territories.

    ‘Useful items like maps, compasses and even secret orders – anything to help them escape or evade capture.

    ‘Very often these items were ‘normal’ items that were sent in aid packages to camps, and the way items were secreted was very often ingenious.

    ‘These items are really rare and near impossible to find, so to have an entire collection of them is certainly very special indeed.

    Another everyday item which in fact contained a concealed compass was this toothbrush

    Another everyday item which in fact contained a concealed compass was this toothbrush

    A miniature camera was easy to conceal behind enemy lines during World War Two

    A miniature camera was easy to conceal behind enemy lines during World War Two

    The exploding rat was made for the purposes of blowing up a German factory during the war

    The exploding rat was made for the purposes of blowing up a German factory during the war

    An ex-museum taxidermy display of a WWII Second World War MI9 issued special message carrying pigeon

    An ex-museum taxidermy display of a WWII Second World War MI9 issued special message carrying pigeon

    The pigeon's foot-strapped canister can be found to its foot, used for the carrying of secret messages

    The pigeon’s foot-strapped canister can be found to its foot, used for the carrying of secret messages

    An MI9 issued special 'escape' swinger compass and other item (believed to be a blade) hidden within a tin of ' Waterproof Cherry Dubbin

    An MI9 issued special ‘escape’ swinger compass and other item (believed to be a blade) hidden within a tin of ‘ Waterproof Cherry Dubbin

    A selection of period German money, a small vintage flashlight torch of metal construction and an original period throwing dagger in leather scabbard

    A selection of period German money, a small vintage flashlight torch of metal construction and an original period throwing dagger in leather scabbard

    A suitcase radio listening device is included in the remarkable collection going under the hammer

    A suitcase radio listening device is included in the remarkable collection going under the hammer

    A simple lump of coal that carried an explosive charge inside it to turn into a small bomb

    A simple lump of coal that carried an explosive charge inside it to turn into a small bomb

    A clothes brush was another everyday item that in fact contained a sealed compass and blade

    A clothes brush was another everyday item that in fact contained a sealed compass and blade

    A deadly pointed hat pin is included in the collection dubbed 'frightening and exhilarating at the same time'

    A deadly pointed hat pin is included in the collection dubbed ‘frightening and exhilarating at the same time’

    A bladed pipe is another item in the collection which belonged to Dunkirk veteran Arthur Muggeridge

    A bladed pipe is another item in the collection which belonged to Dunkirk veteran Arthur Muggeridge

    An MI9 type secret dagger pencil was another weapon used by agents behind enemy lines

    An MI9 type secret dagger pencil was another weapon used by agents behind enemy lines

    ‘They were clearly a labour of love for the late vendor, Mr Muggeridge.

    ‘One item that stands out for me is the exploding rat.

    ‘The idea was that a dead rat stuffed with explosives could be left in a factory boiler room by secret agents, and, once workmen discovered the dead rat, would throw it on the fire and set off the explosives.

    ‘It was a great idea, but the Germans actually discovered the plan before any were used.

    ‘Chess boards were sent as a full set. Disguised as just something to raise morale, nobody would ever suspect they could help someone escape.

    ‘You can almost picture some RAF officers in their hut playing chess then carefully using the hidden compass to plan their escape.

    ‘It’s incredible stuff, both frightening and exhilarating at the same time.’

    The sale takes place tomorrow.

    Who were MI9? 

     MI9, the British Directorate of Military Intelligence Section 9, was a department of the War Office between 1939 and 1945.

    To help Allied troops who had been captured, the secret organisation was set up, dedicated to working with Allied prisoners of war (POWs). 

    RAF fighter and bomber personnel, who for a long time were the most likely to be captured, were trained and equipped in advance for escapes. 

    During the Second World War they would infiltrate agents, usually by parachute, into occupied Europe. 

    They were tasked with supporting available European Resistance networks which they would use to assist Allied airmen return to Britain if they were shot down over Europe.

    Agents would link up with a Resistance cell and organise escape efforts bringing false papers, money and maps to assist the downed airmen.  

    The group also facilitated the escapes of British prisoners of war both out of the prison camp and out of occupied Europe. 

    MI9 manufactured various escape aids that they sent to POW camps which were based on the ideas of Christopher Hutton.  

    Maintaining POW morale became a key part of all their activities.  

    The possibility of escape gave prisoners hope and by gathering the intelligence they had it gave them a way to contribute to the war. 

    The information gathering was equally vital to MI9’s work and it partly helped escape as they knew of the experiences of those who had already done it.

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