No one ever expected a magician to help one of the most prominent armies in history during World War II. However, the story of Jasper is one that defies all odds.
In a weird turn of events, one would not expect non-soldiers to battle enemy nations, especially during World War II. Britain, however, did have an odd monumental portion of World War II history dedicated to having a non-soldier help them defeat their enemies- the Nazis.
Magic- A War Tool
Jasper Maskelyne was a rather unimaginable and weird addition to the British Royal Forces. A family legacy owned business was his everything- the magic. His family line was a revered set of magicians, with Jasper being a fantastic magician himself. But behind the curtain drops and under a uniform, no one cared who he was.
Most of his time in the Royal Forces was spent in entertaining the battle men. However, Jasper felt this wasn’t what he truly wanted to be, from being ostracised by the soldiers to no one being bothered about his presence. He wanted to do something impactful, to make a difference in the world.
After the forces realizing the power, he Jasper had to change the enemy nations’ perceptions. A rather unusual soldier designation, Jasper was made a ‘War Magician’.
Far & Wide Tales of Jasper
Quickly he found people who were dedicated to his mission and wanted to help- an electrician, a painter, a picture restorer, a carpenter, an architect, a chemist and a stage-scenery maker. Collectively, they were known as the ‘Magic Gang’.
However, before Jasper could take on the enemy nation- Nazi Germany, he had to impress the Royal Forces’ senior officials. His first assignment to ace was securing the Alexandria harbour from bombs dropped at night by the German aeroplanes.
In size, the Alexandria harbour was magnanimous. There was no way he could hide such a massive port in such little time. But he did something else unthinkable. He decided to move the harbour away. How, you may ask. He ‘moved’ the dock by using a nearby port and brightly lit it up with dummy ships anchored and tiny estates made of mud and cardboard.
Magician At Play- War Room
Later he at random blew up some of the estates and ships during germans raids. This led to future German pilots being tricked into bombing and dropping missiles the other harbour, thus protecting the Alexandria Harbour from the big bangs.
The next assignment was to shield the Suez Canal by raising the British anti-aircraft lights’ luminosity range to assist British troops in identifying the Nazi aircraft in the dark. But Jasper went South and used lights which would completely blind the pilots. He devised a device which would convert anti-aircraft lights into robust strobe lights.
Placing the mirrors and lights around the Suez Canal, Not only was the Canal camouflaged under the bright lights, but also the Nazi pilots were so disturbed by the bright lights that it led to many aeroplane crashes.
Jasper's 'Magic' That led to the British Victory
Jasper’s next and ultimate target was Adolf Hitler’s right hand, Field Marshall Erwin Rommel, also known as the Desert Fox, to seamlessly conquer many regions of Africa. The British didn’t want the Nazis to go any further and wanted to win over the Germans. It looks like The Battle of El Alamein (Egypt) was the Britsh Forces answer to their prayers. The Magic Gang was summoned to help defeat the Germans.
Bernard Montgomery, the British Field Marshall, wanted to conquer El Alamein from the north and snatch it away from Rommel. West Africa was an important region, and gaining control then meant a lot for the British Forces. The Magic Man with his Magic Gang performed their most incredible illusion ever in history. Quoting Jasper’s words- “dummy men, dummy steel helmets, dummy guns by the ten thousand, dummy tanks, dummy shell flashes by the million, dummy aircraft.”
This was a perfect dummy army to lead to a robust victory. Additionally, the gang even built a dummy pipeline which duped Nazis into assuming the battle is quite far. With realistic sound effects and trippy illusions, the majority of the Nazis led to the Southern direction. Quickly the Britsh forces invaded the north, and they emerged victoriously. This was also their first-ever actual triumph against the Axis. The maestro of Magic- Jasper duped Rommel. Zero Violence, 100 per cent wit and trickery. But where did Rommel and his men disappear? Well, all we can say is, “It’s Magic!”
Unsung Soldier That Was Jasper
Post the war, Jasper continued with his family’s legacy of magic and travelled to 16 nations to display his mysterious illusions. The Magic Gang parted their ways and did their own thing. However, the secret behind his illusions was never disclosed. Yet, it will soon be revealed according to the British Official Secrets Act. They can only be made public in 2046.
Jasper was a well-known man under the veil of small audiences, but donning a uniform with intelligence so rare, no one ever paid heed to him. He never received any formal appreciation for his tactics during the British forces’ war, which was unfair. His name was never documented in many historical books and was lost amongst Britain’s many unsung heroes during World War II.