Defence Regulations concerning found carrier pigeons

A part transcription of World War 2 British Defence Regulations regarding the discovery of carrier pigeons and what to do with any messages they may be carrying. A pigeon carrying a red capsule indicated it to be an Army message, Blue an RAF message, Black a police message and yellow for commercial civilian messages. Special Operations / Secret Service message capsules were either green, grey, or red but with coloured disks.

Disposal of Stray, Injured or Dead Homing Pigeons

(DEFENCE REGULATION 9, para. 4).

The following information and general instructions are issued by the National Pigeon Service Com­mittee under Air Ministry authority S.71143/Te1s.l.c, dated 21st February, 1944, for guidance of all concerned.


PART 1. Relates to Pigeons found with messages or message carriers, and other birds of immediate interest to the Services.

PART 2. Relates to Pigeons not carrying messages or message carriers, and which are identifiable as of British origin.


 

PART 1.
Action to be taken with Pigeons of immediate interest to the Services.

1. TYPES OF MESSAGE CARRIERS USED BY THE ALLIED FORCES:

Allied pigeon messages are carried in message carriers of the following types:—

(i) Bakelite cylinder, with screw cap, attached to a slot in a bakelite and spring clip ring on pigeon's leg.

(ii) Bakelite cylinder opening in two halves by screw thread, and attached to pigeon's leg by webbing band and press-stud,

(iii) Waterproof paper cylinder, attached as in type (ii).

(iv) Tubular plastic capsule. The upper half (transparent) screws into lower half (coloured) and is attached as in type (ii).

 

2. DISPOSAL OF ALLIED PIGEON MESSAGES:

Messages found on stray, injured or dead pigeons bearing message carriers of the types indicated in paragraph 1 above are to be dealt with according to the colour indications of the carrier, as follows:—

(a) Allied type Message Carriers coloured green, grey, or red with coloured disc:— [Special Operations / Secret Services]

(i) If found in England or Wales, the message carrier is to be sent unopened under sealed cover, by the most rapid means available to Special Section, Army Pigeon Service, Wing House Piccadilly, London, W.l. The despatch is to be notified by telephone to Regent 8131, Extension 60, giving the Ring number of the pigeon and the time and method of despatch of the carrier.

(ii) If found in Northern Ireland or in Scotland, carriers of these colours are to be sent, and their despatch advised to, the Chief Signals Officer, British Troops in Northern Ireland, and the C.S.O., Scottish Command respectively, at the undermentioned addresses:—
C.S.O., Headquarters, British Troops in Northern Ireland, Belfast.
(Tel. No. Belfast 27961, Extension 28).

C.S.O., Headquarters, Scottish Command, Edinburgh. (Tel. No. Edinburgh 32836).

(b) Allied type Message Carriers coloured plain red:— [Army]

The message is to be extracted and:—

(i) If the message is overprinted with the instruction "Telephone War Office Signal Office, Whitehall 9400," this instruction is to be complied with immediately.

(ii) If the message does not bear this overprint it is to 'be delivered to the nearest Army Signal Centre for disposal.

(c) Allied type Message Carriers coloured blue, blue with coloured disc in cap or blue painted white:— [RAF]

Report the message and full details of metal ring particulars of the pigeon immediately to Air Ministry, Tels. 1. (c), Adastral House, Kingsway, London, W.C.2. (Telephone Holborn 3434, Extension 1254) by day; and to the Air Ministry Duty Staff Signals Officer (Telephone No. Abbey 3411) by night; or in accordance with the instructions in plain language on the mes­sage itself. Messages prefixed by the words "Practice" or "Test" are not urgent and are to be dealt with by post.

(d) Allied type Message Carriers coloured black or yellow:

Hand the message and carrier to the nearest police station for disposal. (Black are Police Message Carriers, and yellow are authorised Commercial). Report full particulars of the metal ring and wing stamp of pigeon to Air Ministry, Tels. 1 (c.) as above.

 

3. SUSPECT MESSAGES AND PIGEONS:

(a) Stray, injured or dead pigeons bearing message carriers of any other type, or message, or marks suspected to be messages, are to be reported immediately to Air Ministry, Tels. 1 (c), Adastral House, Kingsway, London, W.C2. (Telephone No. Holborn 3434, Extension 1254) by day; and to the Air Ministry Duty Staff Signals Officer (Telephone No. Abbey 3411) by night.

(b) Stray, injured or dead pigeons bearing ring or wing stamps appearing to indicate origin in enemy or enemy-occupied countries will be detailed and reported to Air Ministry, Tels. 1. (c), as above.