Australian carrier pigeon : Black Chequer Hen 469

Accession Number RELAWM30784
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Heraldry
Physical description Feathers; Animal hide; Aluminium
Location Main Bld: World War 2 Gallery: Gallery 4: Islands
Maker 9 Pigeon Section
Place made Pacific Islands: Bismarck Archipelago, New Britain
Date made 1944
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Mounted skin of a black chequer hen carrier pigeon. The bird bears an aluminium leg ring stamped '469:D (Broad Arrow) D:44'.

History / Summary

This bird was bred in 1944 by No.9 Pigeon Section at Jacquinot Bay, New Britain. Once she was trained she was allocated to Detachment 9 of the Pigeon Section (Type A) attached to 2 Division Signals. The Detachment was assigned to 37/52 Battalion in New Britain. Pigeons were used to carry messages when radio silence was necessary. They were fast, quiet and not easily intercepted. The main risks to the successful conclusion of their missions came from adverse weather conditions or attacks by birds of prey.

On 23 May 1945 the pigeon was attached to a patrol from 37/52 Battalion at Watu Point, Pola Pulm Bay, Open Bay, New Britain. She carried the following message, covering 8 miles in 10 minutes,'To: ACORN No: 2. Date 23 May 45 Pigeon Service SITREP to 230745K. Present Position 281560. Old Jap perimeter 286608. 0715 hrs two grenades heard direction LOOPERS CLEARING. INTENTION: (1) Ambush coastal track on South bank SANHUMAGAIR. (2) Clear track in area of ambush posn to North bank POTAITI by 1200 hrs. (3) Withdraw ambush approx 1300 hrs. FROM: WEST PATROL - TIME 230900K. PLACE - FIELD. NO.OF COPIES - 2. SENDERS SIGNATURE - S.L. WEST. Capt. TOR AT LOFT - 0910K.' Due to the nature of the work of this patrol wireless had not been used and pigeons, because of their silence were used. The message brought the first news of the patrol after it had left headquarters and conveyed valuable information about the patrol's position and intentions. The bird flew a total of 45 miles in 7 operational flights.