Sunday 1 September 2013

Cher Ami Awarded Croix de Guerre

A pigeon was recently found in a chimney in Surrey, England, a piece of paper attached to its leg with an encoded message on it.  It was one of 250,000 carrier pigeons used in World War II.  Operation Market Garden saw 82 pigeons released to relay messages, including "Tommy" who earned the Dickins Medal in 1946.

Tommy courtesy

Homing pigeons were also used in World War I, 100,000 in total.  The French soldiers found that using the birds was the best way to message French headquarters.  The Marne River post had 72 pigeon lofts; all of the pigeons sent from that location returned to the lofts. 

Allied troops used 250,000 carrier pigeons to deliver messages during the Second World War.

Certain messenger pigeons stood out:  “The Mocker” flew 52 successful missions before it was wounded.  And, Cher Ami won the Croix de Guerre for its performance in October of 1918.  One hundred and ninety four American soldiers found themselves trapped by the Germans and without a working radio.  Cher Ami, with a message attached to its leg, covered 25 miles in 25 minutes, reaching its destination despite being shot in the chest.  All 194 soldiers were rescued. 

Cher Ami courtesy

The identity of the Surrey pigeon remains a mystery, but Cher Ami, The Mocker, and Tommy will not be forgotten.

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