Monday, August 22, 2016

Request for pigeon equipment for sea rescues, 1943

Pigeon in Rome by D. Truong

(c) Crown copyright images reproduced by courtesy of The National Archives, London, UK
Catalog number WO204/3930 #16

If you would like to learn about the how the RAF used pigeons for sea rescues, you could listen to John Appleton on the Imperial War Museum site.  Here are the notes from the July 24, 2015 post with the link to John Appleton.

Australian John Appleton who served with British Royal Air Force explains procedure for releasing pigeons from downed aircraft
Here is the description of John Appleton from the Imperial War Museum site:

Australian served as apprentice with RAF Aircraft Apprentice Scheme in GB, 1940-1942; aircraftman and NCO served with RAF Coastal Command in GB, 1942-1943; NCO served with No 210 Sqdn RAF Coastal Command in GB, 1943-1944 including operations over Atlantic and Arctic and sinking of U-347; served with No 131 Operational Training Unit RAF Coastal Command in Northern Ireland, 1944-1945; officer served with No 4 Operational Training Unit RAF Coastal Command in Northern Ireland, 1944-1945

On reel 12 of this interview conducted by the Imperial War Museum, he explains the procedure for how the 2 pigeons carried on board RAF aircraft in WWII were released.  Each station for Coastal Command had a Corporal Pigeon Keeper, 2 Aircraft Pigeon Keepers, and 100 or more pigeons.

Here is the link to listen:

This interview is not about how pigeons delivered intelligence in WWII, but it is a detailed account of how pigeons were used by the RAF.

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