HE MAKES ARMY VANISH.
Stage Magician—Made Girls Disappear—Hides Wavell’s Men from Air
From PAUL BEWSHER; Daily Mail Reporter
AN ARMY CAMOUFLAGE SCHOOL, Wednesday
A famous illusionist, member of the world’s best-known family of illusionists, has been sent to Egypt—to help make the British Army disappear. He is Jasper Maskelyne, now Lieutenant Maskelyne of the Royal Engineers, a camouflage officer and one of several attached to our forces in the Middle East.
Lieut. Maskelyne, instead of making beautiful girls vanish on the stage, is using his skill and practical craftsmanship to render men, tanks, and guns less conspicuous.
Practical common sense is the secret of camouflage.
I learnt that today at this Camouflage School of the British Army—the existence of which has itself been very carefully camouflaged ...
This extract from an article in the Daily Mail (April 13th 1941) undermines the view that Maskelyne’s camouflage mission to the Middle East was top-secret.
On the contrary, the British Army seems to have openly made use of the Maskelyne name. In this example, propaganda and public morale took priority over tactical secrecy.
In the same month, April 1941, a cartoon image of Jasper Maskelyne appeared in the French edition of the Berliner Illustrierte Zeitung.
Magic–Top Secret claims that Maskelyne’s name had somehow been leaked to the Germans via a spy ring that ran from Turkey through the Balkans down to Egypt. Subsequently, a female spy in Cairo was arrested and executed by firing squad.
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