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Thread: WWII carrier pigeon message discovered in Surrey chimney

  1. #31
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    With this tail wind am making for China.Hope they,ve seen a Stirling before as dont want to be shot down in mistake for a jap...if dont hear from you will mix with locals and stay under cover...

  2. #32
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    "ohshi iiiii iiiii iiiii iiiii iiiii iiiii iiiii iiiii iiit!"


  3. #33
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    The crack team of birds were a secret wing of the National Pigeon Service - which had a squadron of 250,000 birds during the Second World War.
    Stealth pigeon?
    If anybody ever tells you anything about an aeroplane which is so bloody complicated you can't understand it, take it from me: It's all balls. RJM.

  4. #34
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    Message reads "Burp, next time bring sauce!"

  5. #35
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    Does it mention anywhere that the gentleman actually found the remains of 'Speckled Jim' back in 1982, but the interest wasn't around then to help him with his enquiries?

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by big ned View Post
    Does it mention anywhere that the gentleman actually found the remains of 'Speckled Jim' back in 1982, but the interest wasn't around then to help him with his enquiries?
    On ITV london tonight last night ,the reporter at the end said the owner found it 30 years ago. I haven't found any written report with that in.

    But the news would rather gloss over that fact maybe .

  7. #37
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    I was watching a bit of BBC2's series "Wartime Farm" a little while ago and they did a section on carrier pigeons. Going on the basis of Britain's farmers: a) making use of any spare time they might have, b) patriotic duty to fulfil a need of the armed services, c) to earn a bit more. It showed Ruth ?? weaving a pigeon basket and showed an example of the real thing I think.

    From this and other things I believe the farmer bred and trained the pigeons and they were kept at his loft until needed and then returned if not. If the pigeon flew home the farmer contacted the military and the message tube collected. Not sure if I'm right though, this method would create delay.

    The use of the pigeon would have been on ditching, as Moggy said the Navigator should, hopefully, have noted their position. The pigeon (in basket) would have been taken out of the aircraft into the dinghy - the crew would have been aware (especially if their radio has been un-usable) how important the message would be in locating them. Once in the dinghy the message would be written and the pigeon released. The programme illustrated training by taking a couple of birds out to sea on a yatch and releasing them. I think the time back to the loft was quite short.

    I wonder if there are any statistics that list ditched crews that were rescued as a result of the pigeon and message?

    The programme also mentioned some pigeons were selected for other duties - use by spies? I do remember hearing elsewhere that German soldiers shot at pigeons fearing they might be carriers. That sounds a bit far-fetched though.

    Roger Smith.
    A Blenheim, Beaufighter and Beaufort - together in one Museum. Who'd have thought that possible in 1967?

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moggy C View Post
    I can't see what point would be served by flinging a bird out in flight at all. What possible message would you want to send?
    "FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU"

    springs to mind.

  9. #39
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    Resmoroh might know, but they look very much like the groups of letter codes I used to use when reporting 24-hourly weather details to the Met Office when I ran Climatological Weather Stations at Eastbourne and Hastings. I forget the letter groups and codes, but they included cloud cover, precipitation, storms, snow, visibility and the like and were reported twice daily, 365 x days a year.

    That said, there do appear to be too many varied letters for that to make sense - but it is kind of similar. We had a code book with the fixed letter groups for weather conditions reported over preceeding period and current conditions.

    Maybe they should be sending it to the Met Office rather than to GCHQ?!

    Afterthought: Thinking about it...they were Beaufort letters I used, and although that system allowed for a wide variety of letter usage and all types of conditions from ice crystals to smoke haze there are probably just too many, in too many combinations, for my idea to make sense in the context of this message - unless we had smoke haze, perfect visibility, drifting snow, waterspouts and heat haze all in one place, of course. So....maybe back to the drawing board!!
    Last edited by Tangmere1940; 3rd November 2012 at 09:34.

  10. #40
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    Google is my friend:

    http://www.airfieldinformationexchan...-ww2-airfields

    http://www.rpra.org/about-rpra/pigeons-in-war/

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/ERIC-RAVIL...-/190746528318

    Lots of references to mobile lofts - these must have confused a lot of pigeons!!
    www.whirlwindfighterproject.org
    It's all good. Probably.

  11. #41
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  12. #42
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    During the war SOE dropped thousands of pigeons into occupied Europe in the hope that locals would find them and use them to send back intelligence information. The pigeons were dropped by small parachute in special cages. The cages had a timer device to release the pigeon after a couple of days (in case the cage was not found).

    I think some useful intelligence was received this way but there would have been no necessity to code any of it.

    I’m not sure what the ‘loss rate’ was for these pigeons but it has been speculated that there may have been an upsurge in the popularity of pigeon-pie at certain times in occupied Europe!
    WA$.

  13. #43
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    Its a classic for a wet day
    Stop that pigeon LOL

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSnzOOtHfDo

  14. #44
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    I have a cunning plan, you take an dead old pigeon you make up a fictitious message of random letters then shove it up a chimney and await the joke to be revealed...



    .
    Last edited by TonyT; 24th November 2012 at 13:04.

  15. #45
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    My thoughts exactly when listening to Radio 4 this morning...

  16. #46
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    When I was down at Cranfield I used to drink with a bunch of post Grad studes, they were solving the world every night, so one day I wrote down a set up numbers like 23 44 28 14 32 11 19 and asked them which was the odd one out......
    They spent the night on it and in the end gave up, asking the answer I replied 28, it's the only one on the local Chinese menu that isn't a curry then beat a rapid retreat.

  17. #47
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    bad boy!

    The Catalina crews loved their pigeons. They had a loft too. When dinghy radios came in they wanted to remove the pigeons. More details in the book!

  18. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by TonyT View Post
    When I was down at Cranfield I used to drink with a bunch of post Grad studes, they were solving the world every night, so one day I wrote down a set up numbers like 23 44 28 14 32 11 19 and asked them which was the odd one out......
    They spent the night on it and in the end gave up, asking the answer I replied 28, it's the only one on the local Chinese menu that isn't a curry then beat a rapid retreat.
    In an ironic kind of a way isn't that the problem with this message. Your joke points to a one time encryption. You had to know about the menu to solve it. If this pidgeons message is also a one time encryption then unless you find the menu, book or notepad the encryption was conceived on you haven't got a chance.
    Sad rearly. Might be an interesting read.

  19. #49
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    Yes, does not modern cryptology use a different code for each letter?

  20. #50
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    Has the D-Day pigeon riddle been cracked?

    A coded message from the Second World War found tied to the remains of a carrier pigeon in a chimney contains details of German tank movements sent by a British soldier, a team of Canadian researchers believe.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/ukne...n-cracked.html

    Gord Young, from Peterborough, in Ontario, says it took him 17 minutes to decypher the message after realising a code book he inherited was the key.

    Mr Young says the 1944 note uses a simple World War I code to detail German troop positions in Normandy.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-20749632
    Last edited by TEEJ; 16th December 2012 at 18:35. Reason: Additional info inserted

  21. #51
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    Interesting, although it all sounds a bit too simplistic.

    The quote from GCHQ about the alleged de-crypt is interesting:

    "We stand by our statement of 22 November 2012 that without access to the relevant codebooks and details of any additional encryption used, the message will remain impossible to decrypt," he said.

    "Similarly it is also impossible to verify any proposed solutions, but those put forward without reference to the original cryptographic material are unlikely to be correct."

    However, Mr Young, the editor of a local history group, Lakefield Heritage Research, believes "folks are trying to over-think this matter".


    If the code is based on a WW1 simple code, then it seems rather surprising that such a basic (and known) method was being used. Also, cannot help noticing that one of the deciphered words is Blitz. It seems unlikely that this word was used in WW1, although we don't know, of course, how the code and the words used were actually constructed and it may have been that the system was just based on the supposed WW1 code rather than actually using it.

    However, it does seem that a somewhat exciting and sexy message has been constructed. No reason why it couldn't have been, but I kind of feel I would have been a tad more convinced if it was reporting on something a little more mundane. As GCHQ say, it would be interesting to see the supporting evidence/documentation.

    I know. I know. I am just a terrible cynic!

    Anyway, it probably says: "Thirty six Spitfires now packed and crated ready for burial at......". After such a long flight from Burma the poor bloody pigeon just dropped dead and fell down the chimney. Thus explaining why, until now, no traceable record of the burials has been found.
    Last edited by Tangmere1940; 16th December 2012 at 19:06.

  22. #52
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    Coo !!!

    sorry

  23. #53
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    What a fowl joke

    Richard

  24. #54
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    Whether or not the decoded message reads correctly, the idea that a squaddie in Normandy would send it direct to Bomber Command's Head Quarters is pretty absurd in my opinion.
    The garage that keeps on giving

  25. #55
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    I agree, Andy. At the moment it is just an interpretation until a copy of the code book is made public.

  26. #56
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    This interpretation is rubbish. He hasn't realised that it is a set of five letter codes and has read one of them as a six. There is also the problem that the term Panzer wasn't used in WW1, so the codes can't apply.

    Somebody looking to get his name in the press. Seems he succeeded.

  27. #57
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    I think they are saying the code is from WWI, not the actual message.
    The garage that keeps on giving

  28. #58
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    Like the tenuous link that this thread has to "historic aviation"
    See how they wheel, bank and glide? Perfect. All in one.

  29. #59
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    1. Pigeons fly, therefore aviation.

    2.The type is no longer in active service (although examples do fly under control of hobbyists), therefore historic.

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