An English couple found the remains of a pigeon while renovating their chimney.
Carrier pigeons are birds trained to fly home to a location, such as a house or airfield, and they've been used for centuries as a means of communicating over long distances. They were even used as late as World War II; the British Royal Air Force sent birds along with every bomber mission in order to send back word in case the plane crashed in enemy territory.
Fast forward to today, when David Martin began renovating the chimney at his house in the village of Bletchingley in Surrey. Among the rubbish pulled out of the chimney were the preserved pigeon bones of a bird and around a leg bone was a red capsule containing a small rolled up piece of paper. On the paper is a message that might just contain new insights about events in World War II. The only problem is the message is written in a code, the key to which we seem to have lost. The British government doesn't know what the code is, but they have the top codebreakers in the country working on it now.
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."
"It was like Christmas," his wife said.
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. Perhaps that's why the message was encoded. Yet it's still odd, for even the birds used by the famous codebreakers at Bletchley Park during the war were all written using plain language.
I'm interested to find out more about this message because it may contain a little piece of history we would never have discovered if it weren't for David Martin finally getting around to cleaning his chimney. I mean, what has he been doing for the last 70 years? Letting it get filled with leaves and pigeon bones? Sheesh.