Sunday, May 28, 2017

Sunday Drive: Pigeon Bus, Verdun - 1916

During the week Bonnie and I spent in Paris during my 2014 trip to France one of the places we went was the  Musée de la Grande Guerre. Opened in 2011 on the site of the 1914 Battle of the Marne, this museum houses a collection of artifacts of World War I imaginatively displayed. There are even full-size recreations of the types of trenches used by the opposing armies on opposite sides of the largest hall.

My single favorite item in the museum was this "pigeon bus" used by Allied forces as mobile coops for homing pigeons.

[From my personal collection]

Although Union generals made extensive use of the telegraph during the American Civil War fifty years before, battlefield conditions in World War I made it impracticable because the lines were either lost in the mud or destroyed by enemy action. That left homing pigeons as the best choice for carrying messages.**

 According to Google Translate, the label for this object also on display at the Musée describes it as a "hand-made pigeon holder"

[From my personal collection]

*If you want to read more about the use of these birds during the war, here's a link to a Smithsonian article on the subject.

© 2017 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

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