November 2, 2012 - The remains of a homing pigeon
which went missing in action while carrying a top secret message have caused quite a stir among historians at Bletchley Park, Buckinghamshire. It's thought the bird was on its way to the home of the codebreakers but ended up falling down a chimney in Bletchingley, Surrey. Historians believe the bird was almost certainly dispatched from Nazi-occupied France on June 6 1944, during the D-Day Invasions. During the war there was a squadron of 250,000 birds known as the National Pigeon Service. The military pigeons were taken to Nazi-occupied territory and sent back to Britain with messages from Allied Forces. This message is particularly special because it is written in a mysterious code.
We have more than 30 messages from WW2 carrier pigeons in our exhibition, but not one is in code. The message Mr Martin found must be highly top secret.
– Colin Hill, curator of Bletchley Park's 'Pigeons
David Martin found the bird as he ripped out a fireplace while renovating his home in Bletchingley, Surrey.
The Royal Pigeon Racing Association
think the bird either got lost, disorientated in bad weather or was simply exhausted after its trip across the Channel.
Pigeon enthusiasts are now calling for the bird to be posthumously decorated with the Dickin Medal
- the highest possible decoration for valour given to animals.
The birds have a long history of being used in warfare. They can cover distances of 700 miles, reaching speeds of 80 miles per hour. They're known for their brilliant navigation skills.
Codebreakers are now frantically trying to decipher the coded message to find out whether its contents could have changed the course of history.