A rare navigator watch a Royal Air Force office took from a German navigator who hid it in his underpants is to go under the gavel this coming May 8.
The said rare navigator watch is just one of the four timepieces recovered by the said interrogation officer. Captured German servicemen tried to hide these valuable items into their person when they got caught during D-Day, The Daily Mail reports.
According to to the story behind the rare navigator watch, the German airman who owned it stuffed it in his underpants to conceal it from his captors. However, the said British officer had been thorough in his search, thus, was able to recover the valuable piece.
The navigator watch along with three other Luftwaffe-issued timepieces that the officer got during the Second World War have the estimated value of £8,000.
The said navigator watch along with the three others were inherited by the son of the British serviceman who originally had them. According to him, his father was a RAF intelligence officer whose job was to cross-examine captured German airmen.
As the officer could speak German, he was tasked at pressing the captured airmen to reveal worthwhile information about the Luftwaffe like what machinery the German aerial branch were using.
Part of his responsibility was to search the persons of these captured airmen. One was so desperate not to lose his navigator watch that he had it wrapped onto something that was not his wrist. The British officer ended up keeping the four watches he was able to recover as spoils of the war. The son further added that after his father’s death 2o years prior, they cleared his things out. That was how he was able to get the watches.
Two of the navigator timepieces, said to be standard issues of the Luftwaffe, are Hanhart pilot’s chronograph watches made by Johann A. Hanhart, the famous Swiss watchmaker. The other two navigator chronometers were made by Glashutte, a German watchmaker.
Auctioneer Richard Bromell said the father of the vendor had a Dutch ancestry and was a fluent speaker of French, German as well as Dutch and was even able to learn to speak Russian by the end of the Second World War.
Since he had the ability to speak several languages and was a RAF officer,he was believed to have worked with the MI19. It was the division formed from MI9 and was the department in charge for interrogating enemy prisoners of war.
The said RAF officer arrived in France 11 days after the D-Day landings occurred. He then went on to interview the rounded German POWs. This was the believed time when he was able to acquire the four Luftwaffe-issued navigator watches.
The vendor, who was from Somerset area, said that the navigator watches still tick if they are winded but they need to be repaired as they have not been used for 70 years. They have been locked up for seven decades. He went on farther that since he had no romantic connection with the navigator watches, it was best to part with them and not keep them.
Mr. Bromell of the Charterhouse auction house in Sherborne, Dorset, on the other hand, said that the navigator watches are all high quality and were commonly used by German navigators and airmen during the Second World War. He also seconded the vendor’s words about how they needed to be repaired to have them working again. However, the vendor was not sure which of the navigator watches was hidden inside a German pilot’s underpants as all the four looked the same.
The British officer who previously owned the navigator watches, the father of the vendor, worked in the Lloyds Bank before WWII broke out. He went on to work in the family’s business, an animal feeds supplier, after the war.