Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Pigeons

This weekend we had a lovely weekend in Woodstock (Oxfordshire not the famous festival place). Very nice it was too. I would post pictures but Trev was having trouble down loading them. Anyway they were mostly of our walks around Stowe and Blenheim. Very pretty too but there is plenty on the internet if you want to see pictures of them. Anwyay, on the way home we were a bit Stately Homed Out so we went to Bletchley Park, which is where the code breakers were based in the second World War. A very interesting place it is too. Enthusiasts have reconstructed the early computers by salvaging valves and transformers from machines. A real labour of love. One thing I learned this time was of the use of pigeons during war. No longer will I curse pigeons as flying rats because they are remarkable birds. Basically they would parachute them in to occupied territory and the resistance would use them to send messages to the UK. The Germans were aware of this and it was illegal in Nazi occupied territory to be in possession of a pigeon unless you had a licence and you could be executed if you were found with one. They had troups positioned on the coast whose job it was to shoot pigeons.
At Bletchley they have an excellent video telling you all this. It says the War office recruited the finest pigeons available. I just like the idea of a kind of James Bond pigeon. All a bit Nick Parks really!

5 comments:

Elin said...

You can go on hating feral pigeons, bcause they are just flying rats. The carrier pigeons are the aristocrats of the pigeon world and they are the homing pigeons that people still race. And in case you are wondering about my sudden knowledge Brian used to keep pigeons and race them in his teens.

Helen said...

In case you are wondering who Elin is I started a blog myself in an idle moment at the weekend and used that instead of my own name for reasons of reticence.

love Helen

Jill 'n' Noddy said...

The thing is "feral" clearly they were domesticated birds at one stage. Maybe those pooping birds are the descendents of birds that save people's lives

Boo and Trev said...

That wasn't Jill it was me! She had checked her emails on my computer and it had remembered her

Jill said...

If you want to find out just how brave pigeons were in the war check out the PDSA's Dickin Medal site (VC for animals). Pigeons notched up 32 gongs.

http://www.pdsa.org.uk/page309.html

The real Jill