Release of pigeons
Published: 25 October 2018
The Council agreed that the pigeons should be released at an appropriate point during the Remembrance proceedings on the Recreation Ground to acknowledge the significant role played by the birds during the Great War and World War II.
Councillor Odix gave some background information:
One of the top pigeon fanciers in the UK who lives near
Chipping, has suggested the release to acknowledge the significant part played
by messenger pigeons during both World Wars.
A google search will reveal more information about the
integral role played during the conflict, here is an example;
In October 1918, as the war neared its end, 194 American
soldiers found themselves trapped by German soldiers. They were cut off from
other Allied soldiers and had no working radios. The only chance they had of
alerting anybody about their desperate situation was to send a pigeon with
their co-ordinates attached to its leg. The pigeon’s name was Cher Ami. When
released it flew 25 miles from behind German lines to the Americans
headquarters. Cher Ami covered the 25 miles in just 25 minutes. The pigeon was,
in fact, shot through the chest by the Germans but continued to fly home. With
the “Lost Battalion’s” co-ordinates, the Americans launched a rescue and the
194 men were saved. Cher Ami was awarded the Croix de Guerre with Palm for its
astonishing flight. As with other pigeons, it would not have known where the
American’s nearest headquarters was – its natural homing instincts took over.
Instituted in 1943 by PDSA’s founder Maria Dickin, the
PDSA Dickin Medal acknowledges outstanding acts of bravery displayed by animals
serving with the Armed Forces or Civil Defence units in any theatre of war,
worldwide. During the 2nd World War 32
Dickin medals were awarded to messenger pigeons.