Pigeons played an inevitable role in both the World Wars and saved a lot of lives by being messengers and as intelligence gatherers. They were mostly transported on ships and released during an attack with the location and description of the ship that is sinking. Both the wars used pigeons extensively to carry messages across the military troop’s camp to the war front. Once the pigeons, arrived their destination the wires were used to give indication or information to the soldiers and they would retrieve the message from the bird and telegraph it to the required destination. Sometimes even a personal messenger or wired phones were used too. These pigeons job nature was immensely dangerous as many at times, they would be spotted and shot down.
During World War I, a homing pigeon named Cher Ami had carried a very important message which is said to save over 200 people in spite of sustaining injuries and even losing his eye sight. Cher Ami was a registered carrier pigeon, which was owned and employed by the U.S Army Corps in France. He is often believed to have delivered around twelve vital messages and was honoured the French Croix de Guerre.
During World War II, Pigeon lovers and owners from in and around Britain handed over their pigeons to the Army to act as messengers .It is estimated that around 250000 birds were employed by the army, Civil Defence services ( fire service, Police, Home guard) and the RAF. The widely popular racing of pigeons were cancelled and strict control measures were taken to ensure all trained pigeons could reach their homes safely , so that they could be used in the War.
GI Joe, an American homing pigeon delivered information regarding a scheduled attack on an Italian village which led to taking immediate measures and thereby saving thousands. He carried the message in a swift pace before the onset of the bomb. GI Joe was honoured for his courage and in time action by awarding the Dicking Medal for gallantry bestowed by the Lord Mayor of London as his action had saved an entire village.