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