Pigeonbasics Forum: Lest We Forget - Pigeonbasics Forum

Jump to content

Page 1 of 1
  • You cannot start a new topic
  • You cannot reply to this topic

Lest We Forget Pigeons in War

#1 User is offline   blucock 

  • Old Bird
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 453
  • Joined: 10-March 08
  • LocationAyrshire/Strensall

Posted 31 May 2015 - 18:59 PM

Pigeons had been used as message carriers in many wars prior to 1914, and it is recorded notably that pigeons relayed the news of Caesar's conquest of Gaul; much later, the news of Wellington's victory at Waterloo was conveyed by pigeon, with the news arriving far ahead of the messenger. The British Army used a limited number of pigeons during the Boer War to communicate with the besieged garrison at Ladysmith, and the system proved so successful that a number of small Pigeon Lofts were established by the Army.

During the early part of the First World War, the use of pigeons was controlled by the Intelligence Corps, and in the spring of 1915, pigeons were used successfully to bring back situation reports during the enemy attack on Ypres. As a result, the first Corps Pigeon Service was organised in the Second Corps during May, and from this date, the growth of the forward Carrier Pigeon Service was rapid. The carrier pigeon was recognised as being a trustworthy and speedy means of conveying messages over distances far greater than the newly-introduced wireless sets could reach. A pigeon station was established at each Brigade sector of the Front, and each had a basket containing four pigeons in the charge of a specially trained soldier. The Service was reorganised in 1915 and an establishment of ten pigeon stations with each army was authorised.

As the War progressed, it became necessary to increase the Service even further, and the lessons learned during the Somme offensive showed that there was a need for a 'mobile' loft, which could be moved around as the need arose. The proposal for the mobile service was for six motor and sixty horsedrawn lofts, each containing fifty and seventy-five birds respectively. The Mobile Loft proved to be a success as by 1917, it was reported that the service was very efficient with several hundred messages were being passed by the pigeon service during each battle. In July 1917, the number of horsedrawn lofts was increased to 120. However, in later stages of the war, it was found that Mobile Lofts were not as 'mobile' as had been hoped, and during any rapid retreat, it was quite often difficult to find any horses, and many Lofts were either lost to the enemy, or destroyed by fire. At the end of the War, there were 22,000 pigeons in service, with 150 Mobile Lofts and 400 pigeoneers.

Attached File(s)



#2 User is offline   dunc50 

  • Veteran of the Loft!
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 1,653
  • Joined: 2-May 15
  • Locationkhill

Posted 31 May 2015 - 19:44 PM

View Postblucock, on 31 May 2015 - 18:59 PM, said:

Pigeons had been used as message carriers in many wars prior to 1914, and it is recorded notably that pigeons relayed the news of Caesar's conquest of Gaul; much later, the news of Wellington's victory at Waterloo was conveyed by pigeon, with the news arriving far ahead of the messenger. The British Army used a limited number of pigeons during the Boer War to communicate with the besieged garrison at Ladysmith, and the system proved so successful that a number of small Pigeon Lofts were established by the Army.

During the early part of the First World War, the use of pigeons was controlled by the Intelligence Corps, and in the spring of 1915, pigeons were used successfully to bring back situation reports during the enemy attack on Ypres. As a result, the first Corps Pigeon Service was organised in the Second Corps during May, and from this date, the growth of the forward Carrier Pigeon Service was rapid. The carrier pigeon was recognised as being a trustworthy and speedy means of conveying messages over distances far greater than the newly-introduced wireless sets could reach. A pigeon station was established at each Brigade sector of the Front, and each had a basket containing four pigeons in the charge of a specially trained soldier. The Service was reorganised in 1915 and an establishment of ten pigeon stations with each army was authorised.

As the War progressed, it became necessary to increase the Service even further, and the lessons learned during the Somme offensive showed that there was a need for a 'mobile' loft, which could be moved around as the need arose. The proposal for the mobile service was for six motor and sixty horsedrawn lofts, each containing fifty and seventy-five birds respectively. The Mobile Loft proved to be a success as by 1917, it was reported that the service was very efficient with several hundred messages were being passed by the pigeon service during each battle. In July 1917, the number of horsedrawn lofts was increased to 120. However, in later stages of the war, it was found that Mobile Lofts were not as 'mobile' as had been hoped, and during any rapid retreat, it was quite often difficult to find any horses, and many Lofts were either lost to the enemy, or destroyed by fire. At the end of the War, there were 22,000 pigeons in service, with 150 Mobile Lofts and 400 pigeoneers.

Brilliant what a post, got a lump in the thraple

#3 User is offline   blucock 

  • Old Bird
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 453
  • Joined: 10-March 08
  • LocationAyrshire/Strensall

Posted 1 June 2015 - 14:19 PM

This is displayed in the Imperial War Museum - I submitted an article about my time here in Sierra Leone and thought I would dig for any info on pigeons. Sorry I couldn't tell you who contributed this article but like you say Dunc it is an awe-inspiring piece.

Baz

#4 User is offline   Craig Forsyth 

  • Squeaker
  • PipPipPipPip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 122
  • Joined: 3-July 12

Posted 1 June 2015 - 23:15 PM

What a great post, I love reading and learning all about pigeons from that past

Page 1 of 1
  • You cannot start a new topic
  • You cannot reply to this topic


  • Advert: B.Leefe & Sons
  • Advert: Apex Garden Buildings
  • Advert: Racing Pigeon Supplies
  • Advert: Solway Feeders