Original U.S. WWII Army Carrier Pigeon Cardboard Transport Box PG-107/PB

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is an excellent condition cardboard double signal pigeon carrier from WWII. The box measures approximately 12 x 6 1/2 x 6 inches and is constructed of thick multi-ply cardboard. Instructions for correctly folding the carrier from the original flat configuration are on one side of the box, while the other side has instructions for attaching the message releasing the pigeons.

Pigeon carriers from World War Two are hard to find, but ones that are in excellent condition are the hardest. Ready to add to your collection!

The use of carrier pigeons as battlefield messengers dates back to the 6th Century. Cyrus, king of Persia, used carrier pigeons to keep in touch with parts of his vast empire. Julius Caesar sent messages back to Rome. During the siege of Paris in the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71), Parisians used carrier pigeons to send news about developments within the city. Some carrier pigeons traveled as far as London. Based on their success, carrier pigeons were part of military warfare theory by the end of the 19th Century.

The United States Army Pigeon Service, also known as the Signal Pigeon Corps, began in 1917. Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, housed the U.S. Army Pigeon Breeding and Training Center from 1917 to 1943 and again from 1946 to 1957, when the Signal Pigeon Corps was disbanded. The Center was located at Camp Crowder in southwest Missouri from October 1943 until June 1946.

During World War II, the U.S. Army trained approximately 54,000 pigeons, creating a division within the Veterinary Service devoted exclusive to maintaining the health and efficiency of these winged warriors. 36,000 pigeons were deployed overseas. In addition to the United States, the United Kingdom trained more than 250,000 carrier pigeons, supplying many to individuals working behind enemy lines.

In 1943, the English PDSA (People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals) Dickin bronze Medal, honoring Maria Dickin founder of the PDSA, was issued to honor animals that demonstrated “conspicuous gallantry or devotion to duty while serving or associated with any branch of the Armed Forces or Civilian Defense Forces.” Thirty-two pigeons were honored between 1943 and 1949. “G. I. Joe” is the most famous of the American pigeons honored. During the Italian Campaign of World War II, G.I. Joe was a pigeon who saved the lives of the inhabitants of the village of Calvi Vecchia, Italy, and of the British troops of 56th (London) Infantry Division occupying it. Air support had been requested against German positions at Calvi Vecchia on 18 October 1943, but the message that the 169th (London) Infantry Brigade had captured the village, delivered by G.I. Joe, arrived just in time to avoid the bombing. G.I. Joe flew this 20-mile distance in an impressive 20 minutes, just as the planes were preparing to take off for the target. He saved a thousand men. For his efforts, G.I. Joe was presented the Dickin Medal for "the most outstanding flight made by a United States Army pigeon in World War II."

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