Homing pigeons were an important means of communication during the Second World War. Often pigeon carriers, like this one, containing trained birds would be parachuted into occupied territory to be used by civilians, resistance fighters, and Special Operations Executive agents in France, Belgium and Holland. This carrier would have held four birds.
A short message on paper would have been placed inside a canister that would have been attached to the leg of the bird, or onto it’s back. The bird would then fly back to its home roost or loft. The National Pigeon Service was a volunteer organisation which supplied trained birds to the British military.
Pigeon post was a valuable way to send information as they went undetected easily, flew fast, and were able to avoid shells and gunfire. However, if you were to be caught with a pigeon in occupied territory, it was an immediate give away that you were an enemy agent. There were also cases on both sides of pigeons falling into enemy hands and being used to spread disinformation.