IT’S a real coo. Portland pigeon fancier Neville Walbridge has helped crack a coded message from the Second World War.
Mr Walbridge, 74, has now received a decoded version of the 1944 message, which was found strapped to the leg of the remains of a carrier pigeon.
Last month the Echo reported that Mr Walbridge persuaded Government Communication Headquarters (GCHQ) to delve into the mystery of the bird’s message, which was found in a blocked chimney in Surrey.
The intelligence agency recruited Canadian researchers the Lakefield Heritage Research to decode it.
What was originally thought to be an unbreakable code has now been partially cracked using a First World War artillery code book.
Weston resident Mr Walbridge said: “I thought someone would come up with it sooner or later.
“After the war all the code books at Bletchley Park and the computers had to be destroyed. We accepted that. But I thought there would be a way to do it.”
Mr Walbridge, a former government worker, said he was pleased to get assistance from across the pond to crack the code. He added: “The Canadian researchers had someone’s father or uncle who had a code book and was able to use it.”
The message was sent by 27-year-old Lancashire paratrooper Sergeant William Stott who was parachuted into occupied Normandy.
He was killed in action a few weeks after sending the message.
It is believed he was sent there to assess the strength of the German occupation in that area.
Researcher Gord Young, of Peterborough, Ontario, said: “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.”
Sgt Stott was in the Lancashire Fusiliers and sent the message by carrier pigeon to HQ Bomber Command at RAF High Wycombe.
Sgt Scott was telling the UK that he was updating as required and was requesting information after being parachuted behind enemy lines early in the morning.
Other parts of the code are a bit more confusing and will require further deciphering.
Mr Young said: “Maybe these are ‘fillers’ just to confuse the Germans or anyone else who might have got the message. We have written to the Canadian War Museum to see if they can find somebody who understands artillery short forms.”
Sgt Stott is buried in Ranville War Cemetery in Normandy.
* THIS is what Canadian Lakefield Heritage Research thought Sgt Stott, was saying by code.
“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.