Tuesday, 22 March 2016

A secret message

I have an inquisitive mind and anything to do with needlework or history always catches my eye. Notebooks quickly get filled up with titbits of information and newspaper and magazine articles get clipped.

Going through a notebook this weekend from 2012 and of course looking for something else (!) I came across a clipping from the Telegraph featuring a sampler. Most British newspapers and TV news stations carried stories about this sampler at the time.

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Now what may you ask is special about this sampler?

It was stitched by Major Alexis Casdagli whilst a prisoner of war in WWII.  Whilst that makes it different from the average sampler there is far more to it than that.

Look a little more closely - can you find and decipher the secret message it contains ?

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Using thread taken from an old pullover Major Casdagli spent the endless hours in captivity cross stiching his sampler and in doing so put his life at risk.

The Nazis failed to spot the coded and secret message and actually displayed the work in the castle where he was being held and a further three POW camps.

Have you found coded message yet?

Around the outside of the decorative symbols which surround the message is  an innocent looking set of dots and dashes - it is  morse code. The hidden message spells out Casdagli's defiant message to captors: "God Save The King" and "F*** Hitler".

The sampler, was displayed at the Victoria and Albert museum  for sometime and Major Casdagli's daughter wrote a book about her father.

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His son was quoted in the newspaper article saying "My father always said that the red cross packages he received kept him alive, but the sewing kept him sane."

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The Major continued stitching after the war.

If you are interested in this story the original article in the Telegraph can be read HERE.