World War II tapestry message

This is an amazing story…please read! Thank you to Point of It All customer Susanne Villemarette for sharing it with me.

The tapestry

Major Alexis Casdagli

Tony with his father’s embroidery

Prisoner of War needled the Nazis with hidden messages

Brit’s ‘God Save the King’ in Morse code

By MATT QUINTON, The Sun (January 11, 2012)

A PATRIOTIC British Prisoner of War played a trick on his German captors by giving them a piece of needlework with “God Save the King” and “F*** Hitler” embroidered into it.

But the Nazis never spotted the cunning soldier’s blast — because it was crafted in MORSE CODE.

And they were so pleased with the needlework that they put it on public display at the castle where the brave Brit was locked up.

Clever Major Alexis Casdagli was imprisoned by the Germans for four years during World War Two, and passed the long hours by sewing.

The main message on his gift to the Nazis reads: “This work was done by Major A. Casdagli. No 3311. While in captivity at Dossel-Warbung Germany December 1941″.

But outside the border of swastikas, Imperial Eagles and hammer and sickles, Casdagli hid a dig at the fascists with a patriotic message disguised as an innocent pattern of dots.

Resources were so scarce that the design had to be created using red and blue thread from a Cretan general’s sweater.

The embroidery was recently reunited with Casdagli’s son Tony after being displayed at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Tony, 79, explained: “My father always said that the Red Cross packages he received kept him alive, but the sewing kept him sane.

“He was captured at the Battle of Crete and marched up Greece for six weeks before being flown to north Germany.

“Having run a textiles company before the war he knew a little about sewing, so when he was given a canvas by another prisoner he started stitching for something to do.”

Casdagli even sent Tony, then 11, a stitched letter through the post, saying: “It is 1,581 days since I saw you last but it will not be long now.

“Do you remember when I fell down the well? Look after Mummy till I get home again.”

And while Union Jack flags were forbidden in the camp, Casdagli simply sewed one with a flap over it to get around the German rules.

Retired Royal Navy officer Tony explained: “Each week the same officer would open the flap and say, ‘This is illegal,’ and Pa said, ‘You’re showing it, I’m not showing it.'”

After the war Casdagli joined a British mission to Greece during the civil war, and later started a perspex factory in London.

He kept up his sewing until his death in 1990, aged 90.

 

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One Response to World War II tapestry message

  1. Diana Lynn says:

    Thank you Matt Quinton for sharing your beautiful story!

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