(Updated) WWII Pigeon Found in Chimney.
A Message from the Front Line.
The Skeleton of a World War Two carrier Pigeon has been found in a Chimney in Surrey England. He had flown for hundreds of miles from somewhere on the European Front. He would have been exhausted from his journey and probably landed on the chimney to rest. It is thought that he was overcome by fumes from the fire below, he fell down the chimney and met his demise. He has been in the chimney for approximately 70 years. There he might have stayed had the current owner of the house not decided to restore his fireplace. When clearing rubbish from the chimney, the house owner saw a small red capsule, having picked it up he realised it was attached to the tiny skeletal leg of a bird.
A Wartime coded message.
The owner thought the capsule was from a racing or homing Pigeon. He very carefully unscrewed the capsule top and therein was a message. It was handwritten on a ' cigarette paper thin ' piece of paper. The message was in code, it was a series of columns and groups of letters and numbers. The message has now been sent to Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire, This was the intelligence centre, where the work was carried out to crack the Enigma Code. It is accepted that cracking this code in which the centre was successful, shortened the war by years. Nothing has been revealed other than the letters, XO2. We know that XO2 was the code for Bomber Command. One theory is that the capsule contained a message to request a raid somewhere. Another theory is that the Pigeon was heading for Marshall Montgomery's HQ in Reigate Surrey, which was involved with the planning of the D Day Landings.
More On The Message.
Experts tell us that the red capsule is the type used by the Special Operations Executive SOE. The SOE undertook sabotage missions in enemy held territory, they usually operated alone and lived under cover. Many did not return from duty. Many were shot or worse, all unsung heros and heroins, their names and deeds known to none. The message was sent by Serjeant W Stott. Where he was and what his thoughts were as he released his messenger, we will never know. Bletchley Park is now a museum, they have a permanent ' Pigeons at War ' exhibition. Mr Colin Hill the curator of the exhibition says that all the messages in the museum are in long hand, not code. This message must have been top secret as it was coded. Mr Hill also says that an aluminium ring found on the birds leg, tells us that it was born in 1940.
Pigeons have been used in Battle situations throughout history. During World War II approximately 250,000 Pigeons were used, they can fly at a mile a minute and after training are able to find their way home. A little known fact is that Royal Air Force bomber crews carried Pigeons on their missions. Should they be shot down and presuming they had time, their position could be written down and sent via the Pigeon. World Wars: Pigeons in Battle Animal VC Winners.
What Follows is an Update on the Above.
News and press releases today 23/11/12, tell us that the coded message above has been submitted to GCHQ. (Government Communications Headquarters). They have been unable to crack the code with people or the latest technology. Codebreaking was undertaken at Bletchley Park during the war. An appeal has gone out to find any surviving members of the original staff, who might be able to shed some light on the sequence.
It is now thought that the Pigeon was dispatched from Nazi-occupied France on June 6, 1944, during the D-Day invasions. The message was sent to X02 ( Bomber Command ) at 16:45 hours. The bird was released by Serjeant W.Stott. It is recognised that Serjeant Stott was in the Royal Air Force, as the letter j is used in the word Serjeant. The Army used the letter g in Sergeant this identified the services in such a case as this. So at present we are awaiting the course of events. Meanwhile can you crack the code?
The Code is Below Can You Crack It?
AOAKN HVPKD FNFJW YIDDC
RQXSR DJHFP GOVFN MIAPX
PABUZ WYYNP CMPNW HJRZH
NLXKG MEMKK ONOIB AKEEQ
WAOTA RBQRH DJOFM TPZEH
LKXGH RGGHT JRZCQ FNKTQ
KLDTS FQIRW AOAKN 27 1525/6
So there we are fellow hubbers and readers can anyone crack the code. Good Luck if you try.
War Time Pigeons.
© 2012 Graham Lee