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(Updated) WWII Pigeon Found in Chimney.

Updated on February 20, 2016
They didn't need a road map.
They didn't need a road map. | Source

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.

Pigeon Deployment.

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.



© 2012 Graham Lee

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    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 11 months ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Deb. Thank you for your welcome visit and comments. I'm glad you found it of interest.

      Graham.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 11 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      This is most remarkable information. There is so much to be said on the Passenger Pigeon before its demise in this country. Goes to show that squab mattered more than the bird. It was looked at to replicate the DNA through another species and try to recreate it. Nw that you have brought things to light, I must look further into the matter.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 16 months ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Peggy. Thank you for your visit and welcome comments and share. Many lives were saved over the years by pigeons and dogs during several wars. Keep smilin'

      Graham.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 16 months ago from Houston, Texas

      What an amazing circumstance that this pigeon was found with the relation to history during WWII. It is also amazing that the code to date has not yet been broken. Very interesting hub Graham! Happy to share this.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 2 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Glenn. Yes a very interesting subject. They had their own Victoria Cross awarded along with other animal recipients. The animal medal is called the Dicken Medal. The VC is awarded for outstanding bravery and valour under fire.

      Graham.

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 2 years ago from Long Island, NY

      Yes I actually did a Google search. I found a lot of interesting info on the use of Carrier Pigeons in WW2. I even found a video showing the pigeons cages in the planes.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 2 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Glen. Great to meet you. Thank you for your visit and welcome comments. Yes it would be nice to know about the code. There are several efforts on Google Which you might find interesting but nothing definitive.

      Graham.

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 2 years ago from Long Island, NY

      This is an absolutely amazing and fascinating story Graham. I really enjoyed reading it. And I learned a lot from it too. I didn't know that the Royal Air Force bombers used Pigeons to send their position when shot down.

      I also find it interesting that no one is alive today who knows how to break the code. It surely will be something interesting to look forward to if someone succeeds had it.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Levertis. Yes many little soldiers were used during wartime. They were used by the romans and still used today. Thank for your comments.

      Graham.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Jackie. Yes it's all so true. I have read that it has been figured out but two of the words used were not used in the day. I will keep an eye on it.

      Graham.

    • Levertis Steele profile image

      Levertis Steele 4 years ago from Southern Clime

      What an interesting story! I suppose cell phones are a dynamic advancement in comparison to pigeons. Nevertheless, they were reliable enough and deserve some respect. RIP, little soldier.

      I am voting up, sharing, and clicking good buttons.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Fascinating, I thought it was going to be a joke. Guess I have been reading billybuc too long. It is an odd feeling to think about something that old brought to the limelight. I wouldn't even venture a guess. Wish my dad were alive, he would be looking at it day and night trying to figure it out. lol Thanks for the interesting share! ^

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Twilight Lawns. Thank you for your visit and valued comments.

      Graham.

    • Twilight Lawns profile image

      Twilight Lawns 4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      Quite an elderly bird, that pigeon. He/She would have been four years old if she died in 1944 and was born in 1944.

      My friend Maude has a penchant for pigeons and you may be interested to read all about them on one of my hubs.

      I don't have the time to work out a code, you'll just have to go undercover and find it yourself.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi mizjo. Yes pigeons have been involved in many things over the years. What might have been here we will never know. Yes, I to hope the serjeant made it home.

      Thank you for your visit.

      Graham.

    • mizjo profile image

      mizjo 4 years ago from New York City, NY

      Wonderful story. I wonder if, had the pigeon not died, the course of the War would have been altered. Well, at least it ended with the Allied victory.

      But what a brave little bird, flying all those hundreds of miles, and how clever the trainers were.

      I do hope Serjeant Stott came home.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi again Rosemay. Thank you for also visiting this page. I do have another hub on my pages, telling the story of pigeons as used during wartime. You might be interested in that. Yes I wonder if Serjeant Stott made it through the war I do hope so.

      Graham.

    • Rosemay50 profile image

      Rosemary Sadler 4 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

      Oh now you've done it Graham. I love a challenge of this sort.

      I knew that pigeons were used to carry messages in WWII but didn't realise there were so many.

      It's a fascinating story and one wonders what might have happened had the pigeon made it. It is upsetting to think that Serjeant W.Stott may have been waiting to be rescued or for new orders in vain. I wonder what difference it made to Serjeant W.Stott and what impact the lost pigeon had on his fate.

      My father-in-law used to keep and train pigeons and often they were taken to France to race back to the UK and now and again one would get lost on the way.

      I will keep an eye out for updates on this Graham, eagre to know the outcome.

      Voting UP and more

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Helen. Thank you for your visit and very interesting comments. Nobody has yet cracked the code, I am watching for further news on the outcome. Yes, pigeons have done such a lot in the past in so many ways. I will post a further update, asap.

      Graham.

    • Seeker7 profile image

      Helen Murphy Howell 4 years ago from Fife, Scotland

      Wonderful hub Graham and those wonderful birds! What a fantastic contribution they have made as have so many animals over the centuries during wars. I knew a little about the work these birds did, but I didn't realise so many had been used and for top secret missions as well.

      I haven' t even attempted to crack the code - I'm a dumbo with things like this! But this is one aspect of the war I really do find fascinating and I also have a great interest in codes used throughout history - kind of funny I guess knowing that I'm a thicko at working them out!! LOL!

      Wonderful and fascinating hub!!

      Ps I hope that wee pigeon has been given a good buriel with full honours!!

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Peanutritious. Thanks for your valued visit. I do have another hub on my pages regarding the work of pigeons during battle. I'm glad you liked this one.

      Graham.

    • Peanutritious profile image

      Tara Carbery 4 years ago from Cheshire, UK

      I'm so glad I read this, it was fascinating. I've always found pigeons rather endearing this is definitely a hub to be shared. Tara

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Teresa. Thanks for your visit. Your parents might well enjoy this story. I hope you crack the code please let me know if you do. Good Luck with it.

      Graham.

    • Teresa Coppens profile image

      Teresa Coppens 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Fantastic story Graham. My parents both lived in Europe during the war and have interesting stories to tell. I will share this with them and also make an attempt to crack the code!

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Jennifer. Thanks for your return. Good luck with your codebreaking, it's beyond me I'm afraid. I am watching for any further news, I shall report it when it comes in.

      Graham.

    • Jennifer Stone profile image

      Jennifer Stone 4 years ago from the Riverbank, England

      Hello! A revisit by me to read your update... wow, I wish I could crack the code but I wouldn't know where to start! :-) Keep us posted, this is a great story! All the best, jen

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi klarawieck. Thank you for your visit and comments. I'm glad you enjoyed this hub, it's amazing the work that Pigeons have done over the years. I have another hub relating to the war work that they did in the past. You can find it on my profile page if you are interested. Thanks again.

      Graham.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi melpor. Thank you for your visit. We will never know what might have happened. I will be watching for further news on the subject, we all want to know what the message says. Yes, from the American Civil War and beyond, Pigeons have been used for communications.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Joseph. Thanks for your visit. Hopefully someone will provide us with the answer. I shall be watching to find out.

      Graham.

    • profile image

      klarawieck 4 years ago

      well, I have a soft-spot for pigeons and this made me grin big time. To think that most people see them as pests nowadays! Thank you for sharing this great story.

    • melpor profile image

      Melvin Porter 4 years ago from New Jersey, USA

      Very interesting story and it brings up a lot of questions about one of the world's most significant event in modern history. For instance, what if this pigeon had completed his flight to the receiver? Would it had change the course of the war in some way? We would never know until that code is broken. Also there is a similar event that occurred during the American Civil War where a handwritten note from General Robert E. Lee was found by a Union soldier about his plans prior to the Gettysburg battle. That note was a secret massage to one of his commanders.

    • Lord De Cross profile image

      Joseph De Cross 4 years ago

      This is wonderful. I was trying to crack the darn code. and sonwhere down the line I see the time 15:25 hours on the 6. The rest feels like asking for further instructions. Why? Is just a general suposition plus the historical day D-Day!

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi TT. Thanks for your visit and comments. There is an update in the news today I shall post it later. Thanks again.

      Graham.

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 4 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      Graham, such an intriguing story filled with mystery and history. Excellent. Thank you for sharing this with your readers. I'm still wowed. :)

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi sgbrown. Thank you for your valued visit and comments, I do appreciate them. I am watching for any follow up to the story, hoping to find out what the message said. Thank you for your votes.

      Graham.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Jen. Thanks for your visit and valued comments. Yes, an amazing find in a chimney. Thank you for your votes, I do appreciaite them.

      Graham.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Natashalh. Thank you for your comments they are greatly appreciated. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

      Graham.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Michael. Thanks for your visit. Weird and wonderful indeed. Pigeons have done a fantastic job over the years. Thank you for the votes!

      Graham.

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 4 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      What a long way we have come! I hope they are able to decipher the code, it would be so interesting to find out exactly what it said. Voting up and interesting. :)

    • Jennifer Stone profile image

      Jennifer Stone 4 years ago from the Riverbank, England

      Fascinating stuff! A great reminder of the "technology" we used to win the war... and what a thing to find in a chimney! Great hub, voted up and all sorts, all the best, Jen

    • Natashalh profile image

      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      It is so cool how people still find things like this! I love history and archeology - this was a fascinating read.

    • molometer profile image

      molometer 4 years ago

      What a fascinating story. I wonder what the outcome would have been if the pigeon had got through with the message.

      What a weird and wonderful world we live in.

      3/ votes and sharing.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Rain Defence. Thanks for your visit. I don't know, but I guess that messages might have been duplicated with other birds. The only thing wrong with it, is the increased risk of more than one bird being shot or found.

      Graham.

    • Rain Defence profile image

      Rain Defence 4 years ago from UK

      It's funny that nowadays in the days of electronic comms this sort of thing will never happen again. I like the idea of a RAF pigeon with his little goggles and hat. I wonder if the same message was tagged to several birds to increase the chances of it reaching its destination?

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Nell. Thank you for your visit. Yes they made a great difference when they were needed.

      Graham.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

      Hi, yes I did see this in the news, amazing isn't it? I would love to know exactly what it says, because over here we virtually won the war because of this type of code etc, great hub and so interesting, nell

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi aethelthryth. Yes a bit unusual this one. Thanks for your visit.

      Graham.

    • old albion profile image
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      Graham Lee 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Eddy. thanks for your comments. Nice new photo!

      Graham.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Hatter. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for your visit and comments.

      Graham.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hello Ruby. Thanks for your visit. It is surprising the work that they did. I have another hub telling their wartime story if you are interested.

      Graham.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Judi. Thanks for your comments. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

      Graham.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Bill. Thanks for your visit. Yes pigeons were 'big business' in wartime in those days.

      Graham.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Pavlo. Thank you for your visit. Yes pigeons have been used throughout hisitory in wartime. If you are interested I have another hub telling the tale of their wartime exploits. Thank you for your votes.

      Graham.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi UH. Thanks for your comments. Yes a bit different this one, second world war brought up to date.

      Graham.

    • aethelthryth profile image

      aethelthryth 4 years ago from American Southwest

      That is the most interesting thing I've ever heard of found in a chimney!

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      A wonderful share Graham and thank you so very much.

      Eddy.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this fascinating piece of history.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

      This is very interesting. The idea of using pigeons to carry messages is intriguing. Thank's..

    • Judi Bee profile image

      Judith Hancock 4 years ago from UK

      What a curious story! Very interesting, thanks Graham!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      That was fascinating, Graham! I of course knew pigeons were used during the war, but had no idea the numbers involved. Great job as always.

    • Pavlo Badovskyy profile image

      Pavlo Badovskyi 4 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

      I knew that birds were used to deliver mail. Absolutely interesting hub and I liked reading it. Voted up!

    • UnnamedHarald profile image

      David Hunt 4 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

      I read something about this just recently. Your article added quite a bit of additional information. Great job!