During the last few weeks many homing pigeons have been shot by farmers and others who have mistaken them for wood pigeons, and in view of the serious results of the destruction of trained birds employed by the Government, whose homing pigeons are at work in all parts of the country, it has been found necessary to repeat the warning given some time ago against careless shooting, which may lead to the loss of birds engaged on service of the highest importance. It is pointed out, in fact, that the work of the Government pigeons is sometimes literally a matter of life and death to our fighting men, many of whom owe their lives to the speed of the birds. A notable case is that of Skipper Thomas Crisp, VC, who died at the wheel under fire from a German submarine, but lived long enough to send a message by pigeon. The bird flew away with his appeal for help for the crew, and, thanks to the timely arrival of the messenger, they were saved. On another occasion a flying boat and a hydroplane got into difficulties in stormy weather, and it was feared that all lives would be lost. A pigeon was sent out with a message calling for help, and in the face of a fierce wind the bird managed to make its way home. It died from exhaustion on arrival, but its message had been delivered, help was sent to the crews, and the lives of all were saved. The official warning to the thoughtless to avoid shooting homing birds is backed up by a reminder that heavy penalties may be, and in some cases have been, inflicted by the magistrates on offenders.
• News in brief
While flying near Rugby Second Lieutenant Harold Griffith Nelson was killed through falling from his machine at a height of 3,000ft. The aeroplane continued its flight and came down a few fields away.
At a police court in a Kentish raid area James Kendall was charged with selling adulterated milk. He urged in defence that the milk was sold exactly as it came from the cows, which were suffering from shell shock. A fine of £8 3s, with costs, was imposed.
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