WWII Occupation… of Cheshire?!

September 11, 2023

An attractive envelope from allied occupied Berlin dated 1st June 1947 sent to Narberth, Pennsylvania and censored by the military inspectorate of civilian mails. So far, so good.

The envelope has been expertly and sympathetically opened to reveal part of a map – unusual but certainly not unique as plain paper was in short supply in post- war Germany. However it is an “Ordinance Survey” map of Great Britain, particularly of an area in Cheshire rather close to our offices!

BUT THIS IS NOT AN ORDINARY MAP as on closer inspection the maps key appears to one side depicting the symbols for boundaries, Youth Hostels, Rail lines, Tunnels, Stations plus many others PRINTED IN GERMAN!!! The English translation appears alongside.

This was probably prepared for the German military in anticipation of the planned invasion of the British Isles (“Operation Sealion”) by copying and altering existing British “OS” maps. Certainly civilians would have been nervous of having such documentation but official papers belonging to the military would have been securely stored and released for alternative use by the allies once inspected. At least one of these maps was clearly used to make envelopes with!

We think this is a splendid item of Postal History, a postal curiosity pertaining to an invasion that failed to happen due in large part to the heroic efforts of the RAF. Unique… and rather cool!

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