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Carnlough Carrier Pigeon Story

One of the more famous citizens of the beautiful village of Carnlough,has been a carrier pigeon! Yes it is true! The village of Carnlough on the Antrim Coast in Northern Ireland, is a place worth a visit on its own accord. But the existence of a monument to a pigeon hero may make a visit there just a tad more interesting. Paddy the Carnlough pigeon became famous during World War II and here we will briefly tell you his story. The story was submitted by a good friend of this website Raymond. It is an adaptation of a report that appeared in the Larne Times.

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Members of Larne and District Historical Society have erected a plaque at the harbour in Carnlough, in memory of one of the borough’s most unique wartime heroes. Paddy, a Carnlough pigeon, received the Dicken Medal – the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross – for completing a secret wartime task, code named U2.

paddy-the-carrier-pigeon-2 Paddy is the only Irish pigeon to have been awarded the Dicken Medal for bravery. Paddy was trained for his specialist role in Northern Ireland and England.

Prior to the D-Day Normandy landings on June 6, 1944, the bird was delivered to RAF Hurn in Hampshire. Two days later he was among 30 pigeons taken to France by a unit of the 1st US Army. Paddy was released at 8.15 a.m. on June 12, carrying coded information on the Allied advance, and was home in a record-breaking four hours and 50 minutes.

After the war, the bird was returned to its owner in Carnlough, where it died in 1954, aged 11.

Gail Seekamp has written a beautiful children’s book titled “Paddy the Pigeon” about this hero which should be of interest to 8 to 12 year old children. You can order a copy from: www.pixiebooks.ie.

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The commemorative plaque. Photo Source for both pictures: www.pigeonsincombat.com.

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