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'Hit Jerry's panzers here'... code on dead wartime pigeon is cracked
More from News
- Wartime code-breaking analysts and experts from GCHQ had been left stumped by the 1944 message
- The despatch, sent by 27-year-old Sergeant William Stott, identified German troop and tank positions in Normandy
By Padraic Flanagan
PUBLISHED: 17:23 EST, 15 December 2012 | UPDATED: 17:41 EST, 15 December 2012
Code: David Martin who originally found the message when renovating his Surrey home
It was the Second World War code no one could crack – a message from 1944 found decades later attached to a dead carrier pigeon in a fireplace.
Wartime code-breaking analysts and experts from GCHQ were all left stumped.
But now a historian has come forward with the right codebook to finally reveal what it says.
The despatch, sent by 27-year-old Sergeant William Stott, identified German troop and panzer tank positions in Normandy and highlighted ‘Jerry’ headquarters and observation posts to target for attacks.
It read: ‘Hit Jerry’s right or reserve battery here.
'Troops, panzers, batteries, engineers, here.
'Counter measures against panzers not working.’
Expert Gord Young deciphered it by consulting a Royal Artillery codebook which had been kept by a relative who fought in the conflict.
Mr Young, who works at Lakefield Heritage Research in Ontario, Canada, says the message proves paratrooper Sgt Stott went behind enemy lines to help military planners direct the D-Day offensive.
Mr Young said: ‘We have been able to unravel most, but not all, of the so-called unbreakable code of the pigeon remains.
'The message is indeed breakable.’
The message was originally discovered by retired probation officer David Martin, 74, when he was renovating his home in Bletchingley, Surrey.
Key role: Pigeons were used to carry messages during the war