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|Date:||10/23/2014 9:43:18 AM
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Hello, this is SKY here with a very special blog to commemorate this Day of Remembrance. As we all stop to pause in deep reflection upon all those men, and women who gave their lives for our freedom let us not forget to thank them. Without their sacrifice we wouldn't stand here today. Among the countless Heroes of War is a small elite group of Captains that flew far and above the call of duty. This group is the "National Pigeon Service."
This group made up exclusively of Carrier and Homing Pigeons who have been honored with saving thousands of lives both Military and Civilian.
Carrier Pigeons were used for centuries to carry vital information during war and times of peace. During W.W.2, the Royal Army of England trained over 250,000
birds. The Royal Air Force relied on the Pigeons to the extent that a special squadron was formed to cull Falcons and Hawks that attacked them.
In WW2 the Pigeons were dropped by plane into Nazi occupied Europe using mini-parachutes. Upon landing they were picked up by army personnel who placed secret, coded messages into the capsules secured to their legs. Upon release they'd fly hundreds of miles back home. Landing on their coops would trigger alarms notifying the Signal Corp a message had arrived. The message was retrieved and forwarded to it's destination by hand.
These amazing feathered Soldiers would fly at 70-80mph and cover up to 700 miles, in as little as 10 hours, crossing some of the most perilous territory, often dodging bullets and birds of prey.
In 1943, The Dicken's Medal was awarded to 32 Pigeons, acknowledging their bravery and determination during time of War. Also included among the recipients were 18 dogs, 3 horses, and 1 cat. A small number of these Pigeons also were awarded the French " Croix de Guere" for their distinguished services.
A few notable Pigeons are;
Commando--who carried out 90 successful missions
Kenley Lass (1945)--the first bird to deliver intelligence from an agent in enemy occupied France on October 1940.
Dutch Coast--(1942) who saved the lives of his aircrew when their plane was shot down. He traveled 288 miles in just 7.5 hours saving all.
Mary of Exeter- a tough hen that serves 5 years being dropped repeatedly into France, returning to England. She was wounded 4 times; shot, attacked by a Falcon or Hawk and by stray Shrapnel. He owner, Charlie Brewer a Cobbler, fitted her with a leather neck collar saving her life. She lived another 10 years having 22 stitches in her 1 lb body=4000 in a 200lb man.
These are only a few of the Birds of War. Please take a moment to remember them, they may have saved someone's life that you know.
with my heart filled with love,
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