Sunday, October 10, 2010

Before Telephones/Cell Phones There Were Pigeons

Wartime hero pigeon Paddy honoured with fly-past
Paddy, a messenger pigeon who served with the RAF during the Normandy operations in June 1944, was remembered in his home town of Larne on Friday.
PDSA, Britain's biggest veterinary charity, awarded Paddy the Dickin Medal, dubbed the animals' "Victoria Cross", 65 years ago this month.
He received it for being the fastest pigeon to reach England with a coded message from the battle-front beaches of Normandy.
The brave bird brought back vital information about the Allies' progress, flying 230 miles in four hours 50 minutes - the fastest time of any of the messenger pigeons involved in the mission with an average speed of 56mph.
     PDSA spokesman James Puxty said: "Paddy's contribution to the D-Day operations was a credit to the thousands of messenger pigeons donated by the racing pigeon fraternity for service during World War II.
"He was one of 32 brave, feathered heroes that received the PDSA Dickin Medal for their life-saving flights during the war, and the only recipient from Northern Ireland."

More about our fine animal friend, the carrier pigeon below. Free printable children's stories, all in public domain. To print, right click on the images of the pages at the links.  These books are also downloadable.

Carrier Pigeons, 1907, Primary Education(elementary)

Willie's Carrier Pigeon
, 1894, second grade reader

The New Popularity of the Carrier Pigeon, 1901, St. Nicholas Magazine(elementary)

The Standard Fifth Reader, 1857, poem, elocution lesson

The bird, let loose in Eastern skies, when hastening fondly home,
Ne'er stoops to earth her wing, nor flies where idle warblers roam ;
But high she shoots through air and light, above all low delay,
Where nothing earthly bounds her flight, nor shadow dims her way

So grant me, God, from every care and stain of passion free,
Aloft, through Virtue's purer air, to hold my course to thee ;
No sin to cloud, no lure to stay my Soul, as home she springs ; —
Thy Sunshine on her joyful way, thy Freedom in her wings !
~ Moore

Carrier Pigeons in the Army, 1918, New Reed and Kellogg English(late elementary - early middle school)

Carrier Pigeon, The Encyclopædia Britannica, 1897

Carrier Pigeon, The World Book, 1920

Pigeons, Comstock's Handbook of Nature Study for Teachers and Parents, 1911(elementary)

Carrier Pigeons
, Heroes and Greathearts and Their Animal Friends, 1908(elementary and up)

Arnaux, the Homing Pigeon
, Classics Old and New, 1906

, Animal Heroes (full story) middle school and up, 1905


Eva said...

I still remember that when I left home to study at the University of Würzburg I did not have a phone. That was not 200 years ago, but in 1988. When I later transferred to the University of Bonn I got my one phone, but my father thought that was way too much of a luxury! When my little sister started university (she's 18 years younger), he bought her a cell phone! Times have changed.

Alexandra said...

You are so right. Times have changed, and so quickly! Now I can't imagine life without the internet or email. I'm glad we don't have to use pigeons anymore. ;) Although they are sweet animals - better pets perhaps.

I didn't know anyone with a cell phone when I left home for college(1984). I think that technology was too new, but we did have long distance phone cards which I thought was pretty neat. :) We had to use them from pay phones in the common areas.

Jimmie said...

Very cool. My daughter made a pigeon lapbook on her own. I probably would've made her read some of these things had I known about it. :-)

Carla Gould said...

Great post! It's so important for people to understand the human relationship with the Pigeon. So often they just see them as pests, but little do they know they were our fedex/email/phone call throughout history. The Agricultural relationship is an interesting one. In Iran, and many other places, you can still see functioning Pigeon Towers that used to centralize local poplutions as fertilizer collection and an accessible food source.
Thanks for the meaningful post!

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