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  • Laci Barry Post

What do a Silk Map, Sun Goggles, and a Magnifying Lens have in Common?

Updated: Aug 23, 2023

Have you ever wondered what a soldier took with him in battle besides a gun and ammunition? A few weeks ago I got to find this out at The Museum of Aviation in Warner Robins, Georgia. The museum has so many interesting items from the World War II era.

One exhibit had a number of a soldier’s personal things displayed with helpful labeling. It was easy to imagine myself sitting by a soldier on the front line as I looked at the items. These items included gauze bandages, mosquito netting, sun goggles, insect repellent, flint and steel for fire starting, emergency rations, spit for cooking game, a water flask, and gloves.

Three other items count my attention for their resourcefulness. One was a magnifying lens to focus sunlight to start fires. Another was a signaling mirror to signal search aircraft. The most interesting, however, was a silk escape map. If you landed in water in enemy territory, your escape map would remain usable, which would be very important for survival!

Lastly, there was a vintage, leather, black watch that I kept looking at for some time. It also had a black leather cover to protect the face of the watch. It was such a handsome accessory, and one I hoped made it home with a soldier.

All of the items made me long to know the stories behind them. Who were the men who owned the items? Did they survive the war? And, my most gnawing question, did anyone actually use the silk escape map? I wish the answers to those questions were also in the museum!

"There are also the clothes hangers he requested and a new pen and some tobacco inside. Goodness, I hope I’m not forgetting anything.” Victoria indicated with the tip of her finger where each item was lodged in the bag.

Songbird, Chapter 22

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