Thursday, December 13, 2007

Pigeon War Hero Remembered

Some people call them "Rats with wings" but Paddy the pigeon was different. Bred in Carnlough, Northern Ireland, he proved himself different because in 1944 he was the first pigeon to fly back with news of the Normandy landings of D-day in World War II.

Paddy had the Dickin medal pinned to his breast for that feat of flying and was one of only 62 animals who received it for bravery in the war.

Paddy had bravely volunteered in response to an appeal by the government and risked getting shot down by the German hawks they had set up to intercept the pigeons or necked if captured.
Paddy even had his own number NPS.43.9451 while he served in the RAF.

Dogs, horses, pigeons, hamsters and a cat received medals because they helped save thousands of lives in the war.
Waggy the border collie was decorated for a special mission to defecate on Hitler's lawn.

They are buried at the animal cemetery in Redbridge, Ilford and are to be remembered at a special ceremony in which veterans who served with the animals march past and the Last Post is played by a bugler.

The Queen is expected to attend to lay a wreath at the tomb of the unknown hamster.

A fly-past by pigeons will commemorate the 32 birds who were honoured for their bravery.

Many of the carrier pigeons (including Paddy) further served their country by being served with sage and onion stuffing as rationing continued after the war in Britain.

Paddy's medal was sold to a pigeon fancier for almost £7,000 at an auction in Dublin in September 1999.

1 comment:

Eta said...

Hi, I try this blog becaus I'm looking for military pigeons pictures, because I maked an animation about this strange soldier in the Second World War. Can I use your image, please? :) If you wont see my film, enter some days I link my cartoon on my blog! Thank you! :)