“The Old Contemptibles” - The heroes of Mons drive through London. Watch the original film.Source: britishpathe.com
In our new blog post, we look at the important anniversaries coming up in the next 2 weeks.
Click here to take a look:
BBC News reports on 23 November 2012 that a dead pigeon with a secret code attached to its leg has been found in a chimney in Surrey. A red canister was found fastened to the WW2 carrier pigeon and inside the container was a piece of paper containing the code. The cipher was sent off to the intelligence service GCHQ but they have been unable to make sense of what the 27 blocks of code mean and so they have asked the public for help.
Sadly Pathé are unable to help on that front. However, we thought it a good opportunity to pay tribute to these army carrier pigeons who were extensively used as military messengers during WW1 and WW2. Over 100,000 pigeons served Britain in WWI and over 250,000 served the UK in WW2. These winged warriors were used for their homing ability, rapidity and elevation to carry important information from behind enemy lines.
The most heroic pigeon during WW1 was Cher Ami. Despite being shot through the breast, Cher Ami still managed to deliver a message in his capsule and in turn saved 200 US soldiers of the 77th Infantry Division’s “Lost Battalion”.
GI Joe was an American hatched pigeon who carried a message through an artillery bombardment in Italy during the Second World War and consequently saved the inhabitants of Calvi Vecchia in Italy and the units of the 56th London division. The village was due to be bombarded by the Allied forces but the message that the British had captured the village, delivered by G.I. Joe, arrived just in time to avoid the bombing. G.I Joe’s tenacity, strength and bravery saved over a thousand lives. He was awarded the Dickin Medal, the Victoria Cross of the feathered world, in 1946.
34 pigeons were decorated with the Dickin Medal and we have a few of the awards ceremonies within the archive. Watch Paddy and Gustav receive their Dickin Medal. Paddy was an Irish carrier pigeon and received the award having flown 230 miles across the English Channel in 4hrs55mins. He was the fastest pigeon to arrive back in England with news of the D-Day victory.Source: britishpathe.com
Every now and again there are some important anniversaries that are worth blogging about. As it happens, there are four all coming up in the next few days. So here’s some relevant links that may be of interest to you.
German prisoners at the Somme
In a few days it will be the anniversary of the Battle of the Somme coming to an end. Our First World War Somme collection contains some very good material.
On the 19th of this month it will be 70 years since the Soviet Union began Operation Uranus, part of the Battle of Stalingrad. British Pathé’s material on Stalingrad can be found here.
Interestingly, it is also the anniversary of the fire at Windsor Castle in 1992 – it’s been a whole 20 years since the Queen’s “annus horibilis”. We have some episodes of A Day That Shook The World that cover this dreadful year for the royal family. As well as the Windsor Castle Damaged By Fire, there’s the Prince and Princess Separate, and the Royal Family in Crisis.
On 26th November 1922, the archaeologist Howard Carter entered the tomb of the famous Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun. British Pathé has some shots of Carter at the tomb, as well as of the treasures found within. Our Tutankhamun collection can be found here.
Visit www.britishpathe.com for more films.Source: britishpathe.com