Skip to comments.Remains Of World War II Military Pigeon Ignites Code Mystery (Bird Skeleton w/ Top Secret Code)
Posted on 11/05/2012 1:21:19 PM PST by DogByte6RER
Remains Of World War II Military Pigeon Ignites Code Mystery
Back in 1982, David Martin discovered the remains of a pigeon while renovating his chimney. Upon closer inspection he noticed that the dead bird had a red capsule attached to its leg, what has now been confirmed as a top secret message that was en route to an unknown location in Britain during World War II. Ignored for three decades, code experts are now trying to decrypt the secret message.
Though rarely discussed, pigeons were widely used during the war as an old-school way to transmit messages. Among the benefits, it allowed the military to send secret information without having to broadcast it live over the radio what could often be subject to analysis by the enemy (both in terms of content and the measurement of heightened radio activity an indication of potential military action). And in fact, an astounding number of pigeons were used in this capacity, with estimates reaching as high as 250,000.
But not all the birds made it to their destinations. Many were shot by snipers who were tasked with this very job. Some simply died of natural causes. And in the case of military carrier pigeon 40TW194, it died mysteriously while in the vicinity of Martins chimney.
The secret message, which has now been sent to Britains top-secret GCHQ listening post and decoding department, must have been important. Preliminary analysis of the code reveals that it was one of two pigeons carrying an identical message. But like 40TW194, the other pigeon, named 37DK76, also never made it to its destination.
As for messages point of origin and destination, historians have already begun to speculate.
Given the location of Martins home in Bletchingley, its quite possible that the bird was coming in from the site of the Allied landings at the Normandy beaches on June 6 1944; Winston Churchill had imposed a radio blackout during the landings. Its possible, therefore, that it was heading to Bletchley Park home of Alan Turing and the Allied cryptographers. And interestingly, it was also the location of a MI6 pigeon loft.
Historians also theorize that 40TW194 was going to the headquarters established by the British field marshal Bernard Law Montgomery at Reigate right before the D-Day landings a location thats only five miles from Martins home.
Speaking through the Bletchley Park press release, curator Colin Hill noted that the pigeon may have been on a very important mission: We suspect it was flying back to Montys 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.
He added that pigeons routinely accompanied both ground forces and Royal Air Force bomber crews who were told to use the birds to report back their positions if they crash-landed in hostile terrain.
Its quite possible, therefore, that the pigeon was on a life-saving mission.
In fact, military carrier pigeons were known for doing just that. In 1943, an American pigeon named G.I. Joe brought a message that arrived just in time to save the lives of at least 100 Allied soldiers from being bombed by their own planes. Another bird, called Mary of Exeter, was used to send top secret messages and received 22 stitches after being injured during the course of her duties. Consequently, many pigeons (and other animals) were honored for heroism including the awarding of the Dickin Medal, the highest decoration for animal valor.
Sadly, 40TW194s message was never received and it may have cost lives.
Needless to say, a lot of people will be interested to know the content of the coded message and thankfully, its not expected to be a big problem. Using World War II logbooks, Colin is working with the GCHQ team to crack the code.
Early work shows that the message was sent to X02 (what is believed to be Bomber Command) at 16:45 and contains 27 codes, each made up of five letters or numbers. The senders signature at the bottom of the message reads Serjeant W Stot.
A chimney in a home in Surrey, England, was found in 1982 to hold the remains of a carrier pigeon bearing a World War II coded message. An effort is now under way to find out what it says.
Poor fellow most probably died from that triangle thingy around it’s neck.
“Send more tea.”
In before “Drink More Ovaltine”.
“Drink your Ovaltine”
Related background info ...
“MYSTERY PIGEONS WAR SECRET”
The remains of a World War Two carrier pigeon which was lost in action 70 years ago while delivering a top secret message over enemy lines has been found in a chimney in Bletchingley, Surrey.
The skeleton of the bird 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.
I'm not sure that is appropriate for a pigeon.
It is pretty cool though.
No prayers for the skyrat, but I do appreciate his service.
The Cleveland link in this thread is obvious.
I thank this pidgeon for its service.
“While waiting for pigeon, do not stand looking into sky with mouth open.”
The Brits may not be legally able to release the message under the Official Secrets act.
“Joseph Goebbels wears pretty pink knickers.”
Tell Captain America this is where he can find me, I will be waiting.
Tell Captain America this is where he can find me, I will be waiting.
Looks like it was written in Pidgin English.
Read thees very carefully, I shall write it only wence.
“Eat less squab”
I was just glad it wasn’t an eagle.
The pigeon probably inadvertently saw The Joke, which was contained in the red capsule.
It’s an early tweet (bad pun intended)...translates to “LMFAO”.
In other news ...
“Birds Can Get Deadly Drunk on Fermented Berries”
Last summer, British veterinary officials were called to a primary school in Cumbria, England, to solve the mystery of a dozen young blackbirds that were found dead, many with clear physical injuries.
Tests ruled out lethal infections, such as avian flu, and showed that the birds generally had been in good health before their premature death. But at the scene, the researchers recovered a live bird that was acting strangely. It was unsteady on its feet, it had to bring its wings to the ground to support itself, and it leaned against the walls of its enclosure at a wildlife rescue center. In short, the bird seemed drunk.
The researchers also discovered that all the dead birds had one thing in common: berries found in their guts that smelled fermented, suggesting the victims died from flying while intoxicated.
“Be sure to drink your Ovaltine”
It’s been happening forever. I recall a news story from 40+ years about about birds going kamikaze into car windshields along a highway in New Orleans that was lined with berry bushes.
Happens in California. Birds love to eat the fermented manzanita berries, and then you can watch them flopping all over the ground. They can’t walk, let alone fly.
“Need new bird...this one keeps flying down chimneys.”
“I just saved 15% on my car insurance by switching to GEICO.”
“It’s a cookbook!”
“An effort is now under way to find out what it says.”
OK, That’s not the pigeon I remember from the cartoon.
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