Feathered Heroes of D-Day

Feathered Heroes of D-Day

On D-Day, June 6, 1944, the Allied forces invading Nazi-occupied Normandy made use of the latest electronic technology. So how did the Allies learn of the invasion’s progress? Carrier pigeon.

Gustav (pigeon ­NPS.42.31066) flew 230 miles across the English Channel from a ship off Normandy to carry home the first D-Day news. Paddy (pigeon number NPS.43.9451), an Irish-born RAF messenger pigeon, flew 230 miles across the Channel in four hours and fifty minutes with updates. Both birds were later awarded the Dinkin Medal for bravery, the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross. 32 birds received the Dinkin, an indication of the importance of these sturdy birds to the war effort. Try and remember that the next time their civilian cousins decorate your car.

More:

“Tweets from D-Day: How pigeons earned their wings,” Tom Pugh, The Scotsman

“The D-Day messenger pigeon reminds us how amazing these animals are,” Alexandra Lockett, The Guardian

“Pigeons of War,” Joe Razes, America in WWII

“MI5 Report on Carrier Pigeons in WWII,” arcre.com

Pigeons in Combat

Frank Hauck of Signal Pigeon Company, WWII

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Short link:  http://wp.me/p6sb6-jpf

Image (Pigeon + Dinkin Medal) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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