Recently the staff of the Australian War Memorial noticed a pigeon who made a nest out of poppies stolen from the tomb of an unknown soldier
The war memorial told Sydney Morning Herald that the stained glass window which was accidentally chosen by the bird commemorates the wounded soldier, which symbolizes the quality of “endurance”, and the nest of poppies nearby was a “reminder of the powerful bond between man and beast on the battlefield”.
These days, pigeons may be considered to be very unpleasant birds, but throughout history, they have been useful allies during battle.
“Particularly in the early wars, communication is really difficult. Wireless is in its absolute infancy in the First World War and telephone wires get broken apart in the shellfire on the Western Front. So pigeons are particularly of use in warfare when you’ve got a couple of men trying to get a message from where they are back to the backline; a pigeon can get that through sometimes when nothing else can, ” historian Dr. Meleah Hampton said.
During World War II, 32 pigeons received The PDSA Dickin Medal which is awarded to any animal displaying conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty.
One of the most memorable instances of a pigeon on duty, the one named ‘White Vision’ who received the medal for “delivering a message under exceptionally difficult conditions and so contributing to the rescue of an aircrew while serving with the RAF in October 1943”.