Pigeons (ab)used during wars

One can always observe pigeons on pictures with Kamadeva, one of the oldest Hindu love gods. Christian religion tells the story of Noah who sent a pigeon 3 times to look for a dry piece of land.Little pigeon statues were found, made 5000 years before our era. The statues have a striking resemblance to modern race pigeons.

Greek and Roman history writers quote pigeons. Pigeons informed the home front on victories and defeats of kings and generals.

Pigeons were the newsmen between Iraq and at that time Syria in the 12th century. Sultans built pigeon houses. Belgian and Dutch newspapers depended for a great deal on pigeons for their information.

Napoleon's defeat in the battle of "Waterloo" was reported to England by Nathan Rotschild's pigeons.

World War I

During World War I some actions were undertaken after that forces wereinformed by photos taken by military pigeons. German forces took possession of more than one million Belgian race pigeons.
A war memorial in Brussels reminds of the military pigeons and their fanciers who died during the war. There is also a war memorial in Lille(France) that reminds of the more then 20.000 military pigeons that were killed during the war.  

Airplanes and war-ships were always accompanied by military pigeons. Military pigeons brought 717 tidings of crashed airplanes at sea. 95% of the military pigeons returned from their mission. All 72 pigeons returned to their destination during the offensive of Aisne-Marne. They brougth 78 important tidings. 442 pigeons were used during the offensive of Mense-Argonne, they brought 403 tidings. Many birds were badly injured. Some of the most famous military pigeons were Cher Ami, President Wilson, Big Tom, Colonel's Lady, Steady, Lord Adelaine, The Mocker and Spike.  

"Cher Ami" was the last hope of a New-York battalion. Many pigeons were already killed. Cher Ami reached his loft although he was wounded very badly. He saved 194 lifes of the "Lost Battalion". Once in America, he became the mascot of the Departement of Service.  

"The Mocker" was born in 1917. He was wounded on his 52nd mission. He lost his left eye and a part of his cranium. The Mocker died on the June 15, 1937.
"President Wilson" was injured and lost his paw on November 5, 1918. It seemed impossible that the bird could reach his destination, but he saved the lives of many surrounded American infantrymen. Wilson died on June 8, 1929.   

"Spike" was born in Januari 1918. He flew 50 missions and was never injured. Spike died on April 11, 1935.

Many pigeons moved to America after the war. One of the most famous German pigeons was the "Kaiser". He was born in 1917 and was trained for special missions. The Kaiser was captured in 1918 by American forces in the battle of the Meuse. He was a very clever and beautiful bird and had many descendants who prouved their intelligence in the races. The Kaiser died when he was 32 (yes thirty-two) years old.

World War II

British and American museums are full of memories of our flying heroes. Pigeons were decorated and buried with military honour. Visitors can admire military pigeons with names as Lord Adelaide, President Wilson, Julius Ceasar, Lady Astor, Jungle Joe and Burma Queen. They were brave soldiers holding the rank of captain. There were more then 3000 soldiers and 150 officers of the United States Pigeon Service to take care of 54.000 military pigeons.

Some of those pigeons were trained to fly at night, they went together with the field-post, paratroopers and submarines and made pictures of the enemy's fleet, troops and targets for air attacks.

One of the most well-known military pigeons was GI Joe. He accomplished his missions in Italy. GI Joe was honoured in London by Lord Mayor with the Dickin Medal of Gallantry.

The Royal Canadian Air Force had two succesfully military pigeons, the "10601" and the "120". The 10601 was born in 1928 and flew it's missions mostly from submarines. He accomplished all his missions but was killed by a bird of prey.
The "120" flew from Sasaginigek Lakes in very bad circumstances and got struck by a radiowire.

Snow-White had a successful flight in Berlin during heavy bombardments. She flew from Hamburg to different lofts. Later on, she flew missions in Italy. Snow-White was honoured with the "Military Cross".

Ruhr-Express was dropped behind German lines and had to race for about 300 miles (480 km) to it's loft. Ruhr-Express brought important information.

Scotch-Lass was dropped with a secret agent in the Netherlands on the early morning of September 12, 1944. He reached England with 38 micro-photos although he was wounded.

One of the most famous English military pigeons was Mary, she was 22 times wounded. She flew during 5 years for the Allied Powers and was killed in action. Later on the body was found, covered with wounds.

It seems that the military pigeons of those days were stronger and had a greater tenacity then our modern race pigeons.The military pigeons had to accomplish their duty in the most difficult circumstances : bad weather, flying at night, different home lofts, shower of bullets ....
All pigeons (AB)used during the wars are heros. Pigeons are more trustworthy than modern technology. We can take them everywhere we go, they will always accomplish their duty. Animals never betray.

A complete list of pigeons awarded "THE DICKEN MEDAL"

  • NEHU.40.NS.1 - Blue Cheq. Hen "Winkie"
  • MEPS.43.1263 - Red Cheq. Cock "George"
  • SURP.41.L.3089 - White Hen "White Vision"
  • NPS.41.NS.4230 - "Beachbomber"
  • NPS.42.31066 - Grizzle Cock "Gustav"
  • NPS.43.94451 - Dark Cheq. Cock "Paddy"
  • NURP.36.JH.190 - Dark Cheq. Hen "Kenley Lass"
  • NURP.38.EGU.242 - Red Cheq. Cock "Commando"
  • NPS.42.NS.44802 - Dark Cheq. Cock "Flying Dutchman"
  • NURP.40.GVIS.453- Blue Cock "Royal Blue"
  • NURP.41.A.2164 - "Dutch Coast"
  • NPS.41.NS.2862 - Blue Cock "Navy Blue"
  • NPS.42.NS.15125 - Mealy Cock "William of Orange"
  • NPS.43.29018 - Dark Cheq. Cock "Ruhr Express"
  • NPS.42.21610 - B.C. Hen "Scotch Lass"
  • NU.41.HQ.4373 - Blue Cock "Billy"
  • NURP.39.NRS.144 - Red Cock "Cologne"
  • NPS.42.36392 - "Maquis"
  • NPS.42.NS.7542 -
  • 41.BA.2793 - "Broad Arrow"
  • NURP.39.SDS.39 - "All Alone"
  • NURP.37.CEN.335 - "Mercury"
  • NURP.38.BPC.6 -
  • DD.43.T.139 -
  • DDD.43.Q.879 -
  • NURP.41.SBC.219 - Cock "Duke of Normandy"
  • NURP.43.CC.2418 - B.C. Hen
  • NURP.40.WLE.249 - "Mary"
  • NURP.41.DHZ.56 - "Tommy"
  • 42.WD.593 - "Princess"
  • USA.43.SC.6390 - "G.I. Joe"