Coming back to the previous note about the D – Day celebration, readers should be given a few words of supplementation. Everything that has been written so far about the war deals with human effort, heroism, martyrdom, heroism of a soldier and soldier’s shed blood. Hardly anyone mentions the war effort of animals, hardly anyone remembers, for example, about the thousands of horses killed in all wars. About war elephants, about camels from Kalmyk divisions going to Berlin from distant Turkmenistan. About dolphins serving in the Navy, about anti-tank dogs used by the Red Army. This animal heroism and sacrifice also requires remembrance and orders.
The British Army is the only one in the world that honors the heroic deeds of animals during combat operations, granting Dickin Medal, established in 1943 by Mrs. Maria Dickin, an activist of the then Animals movement, founder of animal shelters.
One of those strange “soldiers” in Operation Overlord was a wife with service number NPS.42.31066, that is, Gustav’s postal pigeon.
The Dickin Medal, awarded to animals – soldiers, is considered to be the equivalent of the Victoria Cross, the highest British combat decoration awarded to people – soldiers. In the period 1939-45, over 200,000 pigeons served (flown), handed over to service by the National Pigeon Service, a voluntary pigeon breeding organization established by the Empire Defense Committee in 1938. So pigeons flew on special missions, providing important information from the continent to the island.
How important the role of pigeons can be and how potentially dangerous, from a military point of view, these brave birds can be, can be proved by the fact that one of the first regulations of the German occupation authorities in the General Government was the prohibition of breeding racing pigeons.
So they flew pigeons on board airplanes and freed from wicker baskets provided information about the success or failure of the mission. Radio communication has undeniable advantages, but the disadvantage is the possibility of eavesdropping, and even if you make soup, the pigeon will not let go of the “paint”.
The Gustav pigeon initially served in the Belgian section providing communication with the Belgian resistance movement. In June 1944, on loan from the RAF to Reuters [ wtedy blogerzy i czytelnicy czasopism opiniotwórczych też byli spragnieni informacji ] released from the landing barge, it delivered the first agency information to the Island entitled “What’s up for English Chanel?”
“We are just 20 miles or so off the beaches. First assault troops landed 0750. Signal says no interference from enemy gunfire on beach… Steaming steadily in formation. Lightnings, Typhoons, Fortresses crossing since 0545. No enemy aircraft seen.”
The companion of Gustav’s pigeon, Paddy’s pigeon, service number NPS.43.9451, also awarded the Dickin Medal, holds the record for fastest English Channel flight. In the order granting the highest combat honors, it was written:
“For the best recorded time with a message from the Normandy Operations, while serving with the RAF in June, 1944.”
The soldier of Gustav, a distance of 240 km, with a mordewind blowing at a speed of 48 km / h, traveled in 5 hours 16 minutes, which should be considered a great reporter’s success. Paddy’s time is 230 km traveled in 4h 50 minutes. It must be said, however, that Paddy had a handicap, because in the morning the weather is worse over the English Chanel.
I hope that you Gustavie and you buddy Paddy are satisfied with the note written especially for you. Your participation in the defeat of German fascism cannot be taken lightly. Hello your memory. We will never forget.
Source: Salon24.pl: Strona główna by www.salon24.pl.
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