The recent find of a more than 100-year-old, undelivered carrier pigeon message from World War I, encased in a thimble-sized aluminum container, wasn’t just a rare find. Its discovery by a retired couple on a walk through a field in eastern France near the German border is being called a “super rare” find. The message on tissue-thin paper was written in German Gothic script. It came from an infantry soldier and discusses German maneuvers in a region that has since become part of France. According to Dominique Jardy, curator of the Linge Memorial Museum in Orbey, France, the capsule was probably buried in mud and later rose to the surface, as do many military grenades and shells. The letter and capsule will be displayed at the museum, which is dedicated to the battle for Le Linge in the Vosges mountains in 1915. The battle has been called one of the war’s bloodiest.  
During World War I and World War II, carrier pigeons were used to transport messages back to home coops behind the enemy lines. When they landed, wires in the coop would sound a bell or buzzer and a soldier of the Signal Corps would know a message had arrived. Carrier pigeons had a 95% successful delivery rate. 

world war i carrier pigeon message in container


4 responses to “World War I Carrier Pigeon Message Survives More Than 100 Years in a Field ”

  1. auntyem says:

    Aww – so the message was never received? What happened to the little pigeon that carried it? They did not find her remains?

  2. Hookman says:

    Ashes01, you are correct. Cher Ami’s last flight was one in which she carried a message back to headquarters, with said message being a request for rescue for “The Lost Battalion”. 197 soldiers were rescued because of the indomitable spirit of that little bird. Though she was shot through the breast and her leg was partially blown off, she made it back to her home coop and delivered the message that saved the lives of those 197 men. She was awarded the Palm d’Or medal and lived out her life before being preserved and put on display at the Smithsonian.

    For more info just google ” Cher Ami WW I carrier pigeon “.

  3. Bluevase says:

    Very interesting ashes01. Thanks for your post. Here is more information…

  4. ashes01 says:

    I remember in grade school many, many moons ago reading about a WWI pigeon named Cher Ami. She had made the most flights or something that now escaped me. What I do remember is her last messenger flight, she was shot in the wing and completed her mission anyways. I believed she is taxidermy and is in Smithsonian Museum backroom somewhere.

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