British Wartime Spy Gadget Catalogue Sheds Light on the History of Today’s Spy Gadgets

8 November 2012  |  Admin

An unusual and exciting discovery last week revealed a rare spy gadget instruction manual issued to US Intelligence Officers during World War II. Well ahead of American intelligence by the time the US entered the war, the infamous British espionage service was already heavily involved in sending small spy gadgets in food parcels to British wartime prisoners in order to aid their escape and evade the Nazis. With less than 100 such instruction manuals issued at the time and only one other known copy currently housed by the Australian War Museum, this spy instruction manual is a very rare find.

Lionel Willis, a specialist at auctioneers Bonhams, where the book is to be sold, commented that it was the M19, created in 1939 as a subsection of the British Military Intelligence, who was responsible for printing and issuing copies of the instruction manual during training sessions with US officials.

Many of the fascinating inventions in the instruction manual are recognized as the hard work of British inventor Christopher Hutton (1893 – 1965), employed by the M19 Agency throughout the war.  He paved the way for many of today’s intelligence and surveillance equipment.

Many of the products in the instruction manual easily identify with spy gadgets currently on the market. With a selection of listening and recording devices in the shape of watches, mobile phones, pens, sun glasses, caps, key rings and USB sticks, SpyGagdets4U offers those interested in modern surveillance equipment and easy way to stock up.

James Brown from SpyGadges4U said, “The spy gadgets featured in the catalogue are not just a James Bond gimmick, they are very real and such important discoveries succeed in shedding light not just on wartime equipment but the surveillance equipment we now use in the home and office”.



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