Brit Finds Secret Message on Dead World War II Carrier Pigeon

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BeerTent:

"It was like Christmas," his wife said.

Pigeon bones! Everywhere! They just fall from the sky all December and we decorate our Christmas tree with them! Infact, I don't even know why we call it Christmas! It's just that time of year where we get a massive influx of Pigeon bones instead of fat men in red suits!

Happy Bone-mas! Pigeon Bones for everyone!

This made me laugh WAY more than it should've xD

This looks like a message that's to be decrypted using a one-time pad.

I wonder if this has any relation to any of the UK-based "numbers stations".

Daystar Clarion:
Dead World War II carrier pigeon?

As opposed to a living World War II carrier pigeon? ;D

OT: I wonder what the message says...

I bet it's just a shopping list, encrypted for poops and giggles.

They translated it. It says "Suck it Churchill!"

Yankee Hotel Foxtrot: Santa Edition.

It was like christmas?

Only in Britain folks. Only in Britain.

Iron Criterion:
Looks like...

*puts on sunglasses*

They stopped the Pigeon.

And at long last, Dastardly and Muttley can get some rest. Bear in mind, they'd been trying to do it since the first world war...

Top message translation choices include:

"Don't park all your ships in the one port in the Pacific"

"I've checked Omaha Beach. Looks pretty hairy. Strongly suggest leaving it alone."

"As above, but Dieppe"

"Loads and loads of german armour spotted near Arnhem Bridge. Working armour too, not just dummies like you all think it is"

"Auchwitz definitely an extermination camp. Bomb the railway leading to it. Immediately"

"V2 rockets may prove useful to a future Royal Space Program provided we nab Von Braun before the Yanks or Soviets do"

"Hi, I've just learned to use my master's typrwriter. Aren't I a clever pigeon"

"Hi Churchy. Can I call you Churchy? I have decided to bend to your demands and will leave Poland to avoid a war. Yours sincerely, Adolf Hitler, 2nd September 1939"

What if it's message sex between two people with an encryption fetish? :D

It says, "send more carrier pigeons. The ones we have keep getting stuck in chimneys."

im hoping its a message about the secret nazi high command fleeing to the moon and is likely prepping for plan 5 "verlt vwar 3" return of the moon nazies.. from space!!

sure call me crazy, but at least my world is full of excitement and adventure

captcha: skynet watches

Scrythe:
This looks like a message that's to be decrypted using a one-time pad.

That's what I was thinking as well. If true, it'll never be cracked. One time pads are laborious to set up but unbreakable short of some social engineering - and all the people involved in the message are likely already dead. Still, certainly a fun artifact to find in your chimney!

Daystar Clarion:
Dead World War II carrier pigeon?

As opposed to a living World War II carrier pigeon? ;D

My favourite part was the "preserved pigeon bones of a bird" bit.
Until I read that I figured it was one of those non-bird pigeons.

Scarim Coral:
Or maybe some Nazis got hold of the pigeon and excuted it and drop it in that chimney (yes I know that is very unlikely)!!

I'm imagining a guy in a full Nazi uniform stuffing a pigeon down a chimney. It's very much like something out of Monty Python.


thaluikhain:
If it's in code (not a cypher), it might never be cracked. Any cypher from the pre-computer days can easily be cracked nowdays (if the message is long enough), if it's just a series of code words you need a codebook or someone who has memorised one.

If it was a one-time pad then it's just hopeless.

the secret message is??

"Hitler is killing all the Jews"

Coolio, but it's a bit disturbing that the chimney hadn't been cleaned in seventy years. o_O

Luftwaffles:
It says

"Be sure to drink your Ovaltine"

Is it sad that I knew the reference to that, and I'm not British and don't drink Ovaltine? >_<

Binnsyboy:
What if it's message sex between two people with an encryption fetish? :D

Beaten to the punch. It was probably like that or some stuff. For all we know its before phone, phone sex.

"Be back at 5, put the kettle on."

"Send more pidgeon feed."

"These French are useless."

"Warning, Germans have tanks."

"Strange Pidgeon epidemic going around, consider new communications."

I can see why cracking the code would be interesting from a historical perspective, but why would they specifically assign their BEST code breakers to it? What are the odds that the message is still as important as it would have been back in the day anyway? "Hey, turns out we were supposed to blow up the Mercedes factory in 1942, better get on it!"

No need to decode the message I can tell you how WW 2 ended up.

WhiteTigerShiro:

Skeleon:
Construction workers still regularly find relics from that time, like undetonated bombs, but for some reason they don't think of those as being "like Christmas". Odd.

Because they're just doing their job, and probably don't give two craps about the war. I'm amazed at how many people are getting so worked-up about the wife's "it was like Christmas" comment. Heaven forbid someone be excited about finding a World War 2 relic in their own home.

I guess that joke went over your head. Or just wasn't as funny as it sounded in my head.

Scrythe:
This looks like a message that's to be decrypted using a one-time pad.

I wonder if this has any relation to any of the UK-based "numbers stations".

As something of a "spy numbers" enthusiast, I would say there's zero connection, other than apparent use of a one-time pad and the grouping of characters which is standard practice for such messages in any case.

David Martin described what it was like to find the pigeon's remains as he was cleaning his chimney. "I started pulling it down, bags and bag of rubbish," Martin said. "And then, the pigeon bones started appearing one by one. About three handfuls of rubbish later, down came the leg with the red capsule on it, with a message inside. Unbelievable."

That'd be pretty incredible to find, I-

"It was like Christmas," his wife said.

image

What the crap kind of Christmases are you having, lady?!

Skeleon:

WhiteTigerShiro:

Skeleon:
Construction workers still regularly find relics from that time, like undetonated bombs, but for some reason they don't think of those as being "like Christmas". Odd.

Because they're just doing their job, and probably don't give two craps about the war. I'm amazed at how many people are getting so worked-up about the wife's "it was like Christmas" comment. Heaven forbid someone be excited about finding a World War 2 relic in their own home.

I guess that joke went over your head. Or just wasn't as funny as it sounded in my head.

You can blame it on the dozens of people before you who were all making a big deal about that comment. Whether they were all joking too or being serious, it kinda robbed any zing your joke might've had.

busterkeatonrules:
I can see why cracking the code would be interesting from a historical perspective, but why would they specifically assign their BEST code breakers to it? What are the odds that the message is still as important as it would have been back in the day anyway? "Hey, turns out we were supposed to blow up the Mercedes factory in 1942, better get on it!"

Because of this:

Greg Tito:
The number on the capsule doesn't match with any records, but what's crazy is the red capsule was only used by the Special Operations Executives - special agents who frequently worked behind enemy lines.

A number of clandestine operations in WWII ended with agents simply disappearing. Well, a quite a few clandestine operations end that way regardless, but still. As I recall, Velvet Assassin was based loosely on one of those operatives, and there was a British miniseries back in the 70s or so based on another. So, learning more about an operation that went sour could be very interesting as a footnote. It's slightly more likely it's from an operation that actually completed, but it could still be interesting if it includes new insights on an operation we actually know about. Either way it's kind of unlikely it would be something as simple as "bomb these coordinates."

EDIT: ...OR I could have actually done some research before posting, and turned up that X02 was actually a designation for bomber command...

it says "we're running out of liquour, send more"

I dunno, a dead pigeon is marginally more exciting than finding an unopened bottle of apple juice. Both have been similarly equated to Christmas.
Maybe I should revise my internal dictionary of literary analogies.

If anyone's taking bets, I've got five down on it being an arbitrary piece of intelligence that will only be mildly fascinating with additional context. If it's something groundbreaking, I will eat my own toe.

crimson5pheonix:
"Be back at 5, put the kettle on."

"Send more pidgeon feed."

"These French are useless."

"Warning, Germans have tanks."

"Strange Pidgeon epidemic going around, consider new communications."

You got me. I laughed, perhaps harder than I should have.

read this online lol started Wiki-surfing about carrier pigeons and related articles...fun fun

Squilookle:
"V2 rockets may prove useful to a future Royal Space Program provided we nab Von Braun before the Yanks or Soviets do"

So in the alternate history described in Warren Ellis' Ministry of Space, clearly that pigeon got through.

image

God Save the Queen.

DVS BSTrD:
They should the bird AT&T :P
I guess this is what happens when you try to send a message during beak hours.

Wordsmith Extraordinaire indeed.

Not much to say other than good luck.

Falseprophet:

Squilookle:
"V2 rockets may prove useful to a future Royal Space Program provided we nab Von Braun before the Yanks or Soviets do"

So in the alternate history described in Warren Ellis' Ministry of Space, clearly that pigeon got through.

image

God Save the Queen.

Interesting looking series- reminds me of 'The First Men in The Moon' which I've always wanted to read.

image

"Pinky, come here. I need you to- what are you doing with that pencil?"

"Oh hi Brain. It's a new pencil! I'm making sure it works."

"Well, you're writing with it, so it obviously works."

"Don't be silly, Brain! I have to make sure it can actually write all of the letters!"

"..."

"I split them up into groups so I can remember all of them!"

"That's... that's grand, Pinky. Now come help me, I need to load this pidgeon into a slingshot."

"Okay! Just let me sign it. NURP! Hotwaday, 136th... uh... NURP! 37th Dekemeber 76. All done!"

image

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