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The E-Sylum: Volume 12, Number 38, September 20, 2009, Article 27

DICKIN MEDAL-WINNING PIGEON PADDY HONORED WITH PLAQUE

We've discussed the Dickin medal before in The E-Sylum. These unusual medals, given to some quite unusual recipients, are rare, interesting, and often very valuable to collectors. -Editor

Paddy the Pigeon A war hero decorated for his bravery in the fight against Hitler is finally being honoured by his home town, 55 years after his death.

Paddy the pigeon was the first bird make it back to England with vital news from the D-Day Normandy landings in June 1944.

His exploits of derring-do, avoiding deadly German falcons released to catch the airborne messengers, and making it back across the Channel, earned Paddy the Dickin Medal, the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross.

The citation on his medal said: "For the best recorded time with a message from the Normandy Operations, while serving with the RAF in June, 1944."

After the war the heroic bird returned to its home at Carnlough on Northern Ireland's Co Antrim with owner Captain Andrew Hughes where he lived on until dying in 1954 at the ripe old age of 11. He was immortalised in an illustrated children's book Paddy the Pigeon by Gail Seekamp in 2003 - now finally his home town is going to recognise him.

A plaque is being unveiled on the harbour wall in Carnlough on Saturday by the well-known veteran pigeon breeder John McMullan who trained Paddy and was a friend of Captain Hughes. Mr McMullan, who still lives in Carnlough, said: "I agree with this wholeheartedly. Paddy was the only pigeon from Ireland to win the Dickin Medal.

"It is only right the plaque is put up, it is just a pity they didn't do it earlier."

"Paddy was the last pigeon to be let go by the Americans in Normandy and he was the first one home. He was the best of the lot, the best of thousands," said Mr McMullan.

To read the complete article, see: Brave wartime pigeon Paddy honoured (www.google.com/hostednews/ukpress/article/
ALeqM5hFchDvU2XyAAwoX3FIptA287myyQ)

Wayne Homren, Editor

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