Dickin Medal certificate : Australian Army pigeon DD 43 T139

Place Oceania: New Guinea, Papua New Guinea, Madang Province, Madang
Accession Number RELAWM30697.002
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Award
Physical description Paper
Maker Unknown
Place made United Kingdom
Date made 26 February 1947
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Certificate Number 41 accompanying the Dickin Medal awarded to Australian pigeon DD 43 T139. The card is printed in black, with the details of the recipient bird hand written in black ink. There is an image of the Dickin Medal in the top left corner. The certificate reads 'THE PEOPLE'S DISPENSARY FOR SICK ANIMALS OF THE POOR/ ALLIED FORCES MASCOT CLUB/ THIS IS TO CERTIFY that Pigeon No. DD43 T139 has been awarded the DICKIN MEDAL FOR GALLANTRY Carrying a message through a severe tropical storm thereby bringing help to an Army boat with vital cargo, in danger of foundering. While serving with Australian Corps of Signals in S.W. Pacific in June, 1943. Date[d] February 26th 1947.' The back of the certificate has typed details of the breeder and donor of the bird to the Army, 'G.Adams Esq. 11 Vigo St. FOOTSCRAY W11 Victoria'.

History / Summary

This certificate accompanied the Dickin Medal awarded to Australian Army Blue Bar cock pigeon DD43 T139 for gallantry as a result of a flight he undertook through a severe tropical storm near Madang, New Guinea, on 12 July 1945. At the time the bird was located at 10 Pigeon Section (Type B) attached to Detachment 55 Port Craft Company, Madang. On that day he carried the following message, from a foundering boat to Madang, flying 40 miles in 50 minutes: 'To: Detachment 55 Australian Port Craft Company, MADANG. From: A.B. 1402. Date: 12.7.45. Engine Failed. Wash on to beach at WADAU owing very heavy seas. Send help immediately. Am rapidly filling with sand. TOO: 0800 - Senders signature - HOLLAND Cpl. TO Liberation 0805 - No. of copies 2. TOR at Loft - 0855'. As a result of the successful delivery of the message the boat, together with valuable stores, ammunition and equipment was salvaged. The bird had previously completed 23 operational flights over a total distance of 1,004 miles. The citation for the award reads: 'Awarded to Pigeon DD43 T139 for gallantry carrying a message through a severe tropical storm thereby bringing help to an army boat with a vital cargo, in danger of foundering.' The pigeon was donated to the army in 1943, as a patriotic gesture by a civilian pigeon fancier, Mr George Adams of 11 Vigo Street, Footscray, Victoria, for use in signals units in New Guinea. Mr Adams, however, was not the bird's breeder. As part of his effort to obtain birds for the war effort Adams approached members of pigeon clubs in the Melbourne area, seeking the donation of birds. After he had approached the Yarraville Pigeon Club, one of its members, Mr Gordon Whittle, whose family had bred and raced pigeons for many years, donated a number of birds. One of the pigeons he bred was the bird who was awarded this Dickin Medal. Note that the date on the Certificate, June 1945, is incorrect, as are the details of the 'breeder'.