[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 November, 2004, 16:15 GMT
Spy pigeon's medal fetches 9,200
Commando won the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross, the PDSA Dickin medal
Commando, pictured with the rare medal he won during World War II
A rare bravery medal awarded to a pigeon which flew vital intelligence out of occupied France in World War II has been sold at auction for 9,200.

The PDSA Dickin medal was awarded to Commando the pigeon, which was bred in Haywards Heath in West Sussex.

The medal, the animal version of the Victoria Cross, was put up for auction by the grandson of the pigeon's owner.

It was bought by a British collector who already has three such medals given to pigeons for bravery.

Commando, of the National Pigeon Service, distinguished himself in three covert missions helping British agents against the Nazis.

Parachuted into France, he flew crucial intelligence, strapped to his leg in a tiny canister, back to Britain in June, August and September 1942.

The information revealed the location of German troops, industrial sites and injured British soldiers.

'Conspicuous bravery'

Commando, a red chequer cock bird, had only a one in eight chance of surviving, facing such hazards as German marksmen, exhaustion and even enemy trained hawks.

His owner, Sid Moon, had served with the Army Pigeon Service, during the First World War.

He immediately made his pigeons available again following the outbreak of war in 1939.

Commando was among 200,000 messenger pigeons volunteered for service by breeders during the conflict.

He received his medal in 1945 for his "conspicuous bravery and devotion" before he was put out to stud.

His name appears on a roll of honour alongside Royal Blue, the King's pigeon from the Royal Loft at Sandringham, Norfolk.

The PDSA Dickin Medal, created in 1943, was named after Maria Dickin, who founded the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals.

Pigeon's war medal up for auction
26 Oct 04 |  Southern Counties
Medal for 'bomb sniff' dog
09 Dec 03 |  Hampshire/Dorset
Buster sniffs out Iraqi weapons stash
01 Apr 03 |  Middle East
Homing pigeon's 3,000-mile trip
18 Aug 04 |  Gloucestershire
Let slip the sea lions of war
11 Mar 03 |  Middle East

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific