WWII coded message from carrier pigeon deciphered

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- Monday December 17th, 2012 - 11:37 - Source: Dorset Echo
A seemingly unbreakable coded message from World War II, found on the leg of a dead carrier pigeon in Surrey, has now been deciphered using a World War I code-book.

The encoded message from WWII. Image by Daily Mail. Click to Enlarge

What was thought to be an unbreakable code of a Second World War message, found on the leg of a dead pigeon in a Surrey chimney, has now been cracked. The key to cracking the code was a First World War artillery code-book. During the last month, codebreaking enthusiasts from around the world have been trying their hand at the secret message, after the British Intelligence (GHCQ) requested help from the public to decode it. Researchers at the Canadian Lakefield Heritage Research seem to have solved the mystery. 

 

"We have been able to unravel most but not all of the so-called unbreakable code of the pigeon remains in the chimney. The message is indeed breakable," said Gord Young, researcher in Ontario.

 

The note was sent by Sergeant William Stott, a 27-year-old Lancashire paratrooper who was sent into occupied Normandy and killed in action a few weeks after sending the message. Stott was buried in Ranville War Cemetery in Normandy.

 

Stott sent the message by carrier pigeon to HQ Bomber Command at RAF in High Wycombe, telling headquarters that he was updating as required and requesting information after being parachuted behind enemy lines early in the morning.

 

The red tube, attached to the 70 year old pigeon remains, in which the coded message from 1944 was found. Image by Daily Mail

Other parts of the code will require further deciphering. Young thinks that these parts of the message might be 'fillers', to confuse the Germans or any other wrong hands who might have received the message.

 

The decoded message, according to Lakefield Heritage Research, reads;


"Artillery observer at 'K' Sector, Normandy. Requested headquarters supplement report. Panzer attack – blitz. West Artillery Observer Tracking Attack.
Lt Knows extra guns are here. Know where local dispatch station is. Determined where Jerry’s headquarters front posts. Right battery headquarters right here.
Found headquarters infantry right here. Final note, confirming, found Jerry’s whereabouts. Go over field notes. Counter measures against Panzers not working. Jerry’s right battery central headquarters here. Artillery observer at ‘K’ sector Normandy. Mortar, infantry attack panzers.
Hit Jerry’s Right or Reserve Battery Here. Already know electrical engineers headquarters. Troops, panzers, batteries, engineers, here. Final note known to headquarters."

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