Carrier pigeon finally delivers message 70 years late

Pigeon skeleton
Pigeon skeleton

THE remains of a carrier pigeon destined for Bletchley Park lost in action during World War Two has been found in a chimney in Surrey.

The skeleton of the bird found in Bletchingdon has a small red cylinder attached to its foot which contains a mysterious cigarette paper-sized coded message. The message is deemed so sensitive, that Codebreakers at GCHQ in Cheltenham are now frantically trying to decipher it.

The remains of the war veteran bird were discovered by David Martin as he ripped out a fireplace while renovating his home. The Royal Pigeon Racing Association says the mysterious bird probably either got lost, disorientated in bad weather, or was simply exhausted after its trip across the Channel.

Historians believe the bird was almost certainly dispatched from Nazi-occupied France on June 6 1944, during the D-Day Invasions. Because of Churchill’s radio blackout, homing pigeons were taken on the D-Day invasion and released by Allied Forces to inform military Generals back on English shores how the operation was going.

Mr Martin, the man who found the historic pigeon, said: “It’s a real mystery and I cannot wait for the secret message to be decoded. Who knows; maybe it’ll tell us something really shocking like, God forbid, Churchill was actually working undercover for the Nazis!”

Colin Hill, a volunteer for the Royal Pigeon Racing Association and the curator of Bletchley Park’s ‘Pigeons at War’ exhibition, said: “We have more than 30 messages from World War Two carrier pigeons in our exhibition, but not one is in code. The message Mr Martin found must be highly top secret. The aluminium ring found on the bird’s leg tells us it was born in 1940 and we know it’s an Allied Forces pigeon because of the red capsule it was carrying – but that’s all we know.

“We suspect it was flying back to Monty’s HQ or Bletchley Park from Nazi occupied Normandy during the invasion. I can only presume it became exhausted and attempted to rest on an open chimney – where it valiantly perished.”

Pigeon enthusiasts are calling for the bird to be posthumously awarded the Dickin Medal - the highest possible decoration for valour given to animals.