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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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Messenger pigeons in the war

by cambsaction

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Contributed by 
People in story: 
Horatio John Hammond (story given by his daughter Jacquline Sandra Rayment)
Location of story: 
London, Cairo and Guernsey
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
21 December 2005

The letter which called Hammond back because of his pigeon knowledge. The letter which saved his life.

Since the age of 11 my father had raced pigeons. He had been born in the Custom House in Peterborough and volunteered for the armed forces in his 30’s.He joined the Signals. He was a Lance Corporal. He was due to go to Singapore but was called back because of his knowledge of pigeons. He was then deployed to a loft and at one time he was transferred to the lofts in Trafalgar Square. He was sent to Cairo and to Bagdad where messages were sent by pigeon to the Russian convoys. At one point he was sent to Guernsey in a very small boat with pigeons to give to the Resistance on the Channel Islands. He always said that people thought that pigeons couldn’t fly at night but they could. They weren’t much good after they had done so but they could be used at night. His expertise with pigeons saved his life because had he gone to Singapore he would have been killed with all his platoon who unfortunately did not survive. He was demobbed in Berlin at the end of the war. He continued to race pigeons, winning many cups, until he was 86.

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