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WW2 Carrier Pigeon and Undecoded Message Found In Chimney 287

Posted by Soulskill
from the flue-the-coop dept.
BigBadBus writes "The BBC is reporting that the remains of a World War 2 carrier pigeon were found during renovation of a chimney in England. What is interesting is that the pigeon's remains still had its message attached to the leg ring; even more interesting, this is the first recorded instance of a code being used rather than plain text. The successor to WW2 code-breaking HQ Bletchley Park, the GCHQ, is trying to decipher this unique code. Maybe a Slashdot reader can beat them to it?"
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WW2 Carrier Pigeon and Undecoded Message Found In Chimney

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  • Undecoded (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rwise2112 (648849) on Friday November 02, 2012 @02:07PM (#41855563)

    WW2 Carrier Pigeon and Undecoded Message Found In Chimney

    I guess that's code for coded.

  • Re:Undecoded? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Triv (181010) on Friday November 02, 2012 @02:26PM (#41855913) Journal

    If a message is "encoded" it doesn't imply one way or another whether it had been decoded at some point. Just because the message is "encoded" doesn't mean it hasn't been decoded; decoding a message doesn't change the state of the original message as it's still encoded.

    Undecoded is more precise.

  • Re:Undecoded (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 02, 2012 @02:36PM (#41856099)

    No, it's natural language's wonderfully concise way of expressing "coded, but subject to ongoing attempts at decoding it" so that everybody who occasionally talks to people instead of machines immediately understands it.

  • Huh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fm6 (162816) on Friday November 02, 2012 @02:53PM (#41856353) Homepage Journal

    Unbelievable. They were still using carrier pigeons in WW II? Despite the invention of radio?

    My first thought was that this they got the war wrong or that it was some hobbyist playing at secret messages. But no, they did use pigeons in WW II. The Army Pigeon Service [wikipedia.org] was only disbanded in 1957!

    It's weird how military people refuse to give up their favorite toys. As early as the Civil War, the smarter generals were pointing out the stupidity of charging cavalry against modern rifled weapons. And yet the last cavelry charge occurred 80 years later!

  • Re:I got it! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by scotts13 (1371443) on Friday November 02, 2012 @03:03PM (#41856503)

    Wrong bomb. Fission, not fusion. They're called "A-bombs."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 02, 2012 @03:15PM (#41856703)
    The same is true for many of the soldiers.
  • Re:Huh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dkleinsc (563838) on Friday November 02, 2012 @03:45PM (#41857249) Homepage

    They were still using carrier pigeons in WW II? Despite the invention of radio?

    The trouble with radio is that everyone else hears it too. Carrier pigeons, assuming they get through, can carry a message from the front lines to the rear without it being intercepted as easily.

    And yet the last cavalry charge occurred 80 years later!

    Actually, the WWII cavalry charges were done because they sometimes worked: For example, an infamous Polish cavalry charge early on in the war was successful in halting the advance of an infantry force - the trouble was that then some tanks showed up and the cavalry had to retreat (this later got propagandized as Poles charging tanks with lances, but that never happened). Later on, an Italian cavalry unit was surrounded by Marshal Tito's forces in the Balkans, and managed to escape by charging them with sabres drawn. And yes, the Germans used cavalry too, mostly on the Eastern Front.

    In short, the generals aren't as stupid as you think.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 02, 2012 @03:47PM (#41857301)

    Fireplace may well have been used, without anyone realising a dead bird was being smoked in the chimney.

  • by quacking duck (607555) on Friday November 02, 2012 @04:55PM (#41858331)

    Poignant as the words are, recently (last 10 years or so?) someone scored them to music for Remembrance Day ceremonies. Let me tell you, listening to these words from the dead, sung by school-age children, is one of the most powerful and haunting things you can hear.

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