carpenter's plane (used glider for construction)

Catalogue number
  • EPH 4532
Department
Exhibits
Materials
  • whole: wood
  • whole: metal
Dimensions
  • whole: 37 x 6 x 14 cm
Alternative names
  • full name: carpenter's plane (used glider for construction)
  • simple name: POW
Category
souvenirs and ephemera

© IWM (EPH 4532)

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Label

Carpenter's plane used in the construction of the Second World War 'Colditz Cock' escape glider. For full description of this escape project see EPH 637. The plane was also used in other escape schemes. Flight Lieutenant Jack Best, who helped build the glider, later described the origins and history of this carpenter's plane as follows: 'The blade is German and was got from the Germans by bribery, unfortunately it has not got the other half of the blade that makes the shaving peel off after being cut. As a result it was apt to jam up. The timber is beech, the correct wood, and was obtained from bed boards. Only a few were of beech instead of soft wood. As they were thin the body had to be laminated and held together with screws. The most difficult job was making the holes for the screws. This was done with a nail; I ended up with a blister 1½ inches in diameter in the palm of my hand. Unfortunately the blade arrived after we had done the major planing work; however it was used a lot on the glider and other work that we did for other schemes. If you try you will find it a bit awkward to hold, but does a good job.'

Physical description

wooden plane (37 x 6 x 14 cm)

History note

Carpenter's plane used in the construction of the Second World War 'Colditz Cock' escape glider. For full description of this escape project see EPH 637. The plane was also used in other escape schemes. Flight Lieutenant Jack Best, who helped build the glider, later described the origins and history of this carpenter's plane as follows: 'The blade is German and was got from the Germans by bribery, unfortunately it has not got the other half of the blade that makes the shaving peel off after being cut. As a result it was apt to jam up. The timber is beech, the correct wood, and was obtained from bed boards. Only a few were of beech instead of soft wood. As they were thin the body had to be laminated and held together with screws. The most difficult job was making the holes for the screws. This was done with a nail; I ended up with a blister 1½ inches in diameter in the palm of my hand. Unfortunately the blade arrived after we had done the major planing work; however it was used a lot on the glider and other work that we did for other schemes. If you try you will find it a bit awkward to hold, but does a good job.'

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