Waugh’s Scarf

The Croatian newspaper Jutarnji Vijesti (Morning News)¬†published in Zagreb has a longish article¬†about Waugh’s career in Yugoslavia in WWII and his connections¬†with that country afterwards. The story opens with a description of a silk scarf on display in Rijeka. This is an example of a scarf worn by British aviators in WWII that was designed to be insoluble¬†in water and displayed accurate road networks to facilitate escape routes for those in downed aircarft:

The scarf on display¬†belonged to the English pilot [sic] and writer Evelyn Waugh who in 1944 survived a¬†crash somewhere in the area of Petrova Gora…It is the original “escape map” that was worn by English pilots; this was confirmed¬†in conversation with Mladen Urem, [who¬†is related to a Dr Kuńćińá, who in turn is said to have treated Waugh after the crash and was given the scarf.]… Urem, who donated the scarf to the museum in Rijeka, explains that the¬†origin of the scarf¬†is an “urban legend” but does have a¬†factual¬†basis. ¬†Waugh actually survived a¬†plane crash in 1944 in the area of Petrova Gora, and in this area a¬†Dr. Zdravko Kuńćińá was head of the IV. Army medical corps. Doctor Kuńćińá after 1945 became the director of the Rijeka hospital, which now¬†bears¬†his name.¬†After all, Waugh described 1944 events in Croatia in a¬†novel–reports Urem– and this is the most interesting fact related to the story of the¬†silk scarf.

The article goes on to describe¬†Waugh’s service in Yugoslavia, his identification of¬†Marshall Tito as a woman, and his preparation of a study of church-state relations in the aftermath of the war. The story also says that Waugh’s war trilogy Sword¬†of Honour (Pońćasni mańć) could not be printed in a Croatian (or at the time Serbo-Croatian) translation while Tito was still alive. After his death, all three volumes were published separately in a 1993 Croatian edition. The¬†cover from volume 3,¬†Unconditional Surrender (Bezuvjetnoj predaji), which deals with Guy Crouchback’s Yugoslavian experiences,¬†is reproduced¬†in the article. There are also several other interesting photographs, including one of Waugh with a group of soldiers and a detail from the scarf. The translation is by Google with considerable editing and simplification. Here’s the full translated version but, be warned, it is fairly rough.

UPDATE (11 January 2017): The translation from the Croatian newspaper has been modified to clarify that Dr¬†Kuńćińá was given the scarf during the war and one of his heirs donated the scarf to the museum in Rijeka.

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