In early October, an unusual occurrence has been found by the workers of the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. For a while, one by one, the poppies from the grave of an unknown soldier have vanished. The guilty party which turned out to be a pigeon. The bird took the flowers from the grave to create a beautiful, vibrant nest at the war memorial by a stained glass window. The beautiful nest lead-up to Remembrance Day commemorations that are held on November 11th.
The Australian War Memorial workers noticed a pigeon that made a nest of poppies taken from a soldier’s grave.
The war memorial told Sydney Morning Herald that the stained glass window mistakenly found by the bird commemorates the wounded soldier, which symbolizes the “endurance” value, and the nearby poppy nest is “a reminder of the powerful bond between man and beast on the battlefield.”
Pigeons may be called very unpleasant birds these days, but they were valuable allies in war throughout history.
Throughout World War II, 32 pigeons were given the PDSA Dickin Award to any individual showing conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty.
“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.
One of the most memorable cases of a service pigeon is the one named ‘ White Vision ‘ which was given 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”.