White Vision

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White Vision, also known by its service number SURP.41.L.3089, was a female Second World War homing pigeon who served with the National Pigeon Service and was posted to No. 190 Squadron RAF. She was awarded the Dickin Medal for gallantry in 1943 for delivering a message from a flying boat forced to ditch off the coast of Scotland.

Military service[edit]

White Vision was bred by the Fleming brothers of Motherwell, Scotland. During the Second World War she was lent to the National Pigeon Service,[1] and was stationed at Sullom Voe in the Shetland Islands with No. 190 Squadron RAF.[2]

On 11 October 1943,[1] White Vision was aboard a Consolidated PBY Catalina flying boat when it was forced to ditch in the North Sea near the Hebrides off the coast of Scotland.[3] With the plane's radio out of action,[4] she was released to indicate where the plane had gone down, as bad weather conditions were preventing it from being found by other planes. She flew some 60 miles (97 km) against a strong headwind, arriving back at her pigeon loft. The search was resumed and the plane was subsequently found,[5] with all eleven members of the air crew saved after they had spent some eighteen hours in the sea.[2][6]

She was awarded the Dickin Medal on 2 December 1943; her medal citation reads "For delivering a message under exceptionally difficult conditions and so contributing to the rescue of an Air Crew while serving with the RAF in October 1943."[7] The medal is referred to as the animal's Victoria Cross,[8] and White Vision was one of the first pigeons to be awarded it.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b O'Grady, Richard (21 October 1999). "Don't let bonfire night be a fright". Daily Record. Retrieved 21 April 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "The Dickin Medal - The Animal's VC". The Scots at War Trust. Retrieved 21 April 2012. 
  3. ^ "Pigeons in War". The Royal Racing Pigeon Association. Retrieved 21 April 2012. 
  4. ^ "Entertainment for a Pigeon". The Sydney Morning Herald. 9 July 1950. Retrieved 21 April 2012. 
  5. ^ "Pet SOS: Bravery beyond the coo of duty". Coventry Evening Telegraph. 5 June 2004. Retrieved 21 April 2012. 
  6. ^ "Royal Seal Of Approval". Sky News. 24 November 2004. Retrieved 21 April 2012. 
  7. ^ a b "Dickin medal pigeons". PDSA. Retrieved 21 April 2012. 
  8. ^ Houghton-Brown, John (1 January 2012). "Heroic animals finally gain the recognition they deserve" (Subscription required). The Independent on Sunday. Retrieved 21 April 2012.