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Dead medium: Pigeon paraphernalia
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From: jagenbroad@stinger.ARL.MIL (James Agenbroad)
rwolff* (R. Wolff) (Tom Jennings)
(Richard Thieme)

(((bruces remarks: We've had a gratifying response to the recent flurry on pigeons. Paratroop vests, clockwork canisters, specialty carbon paper, pigeon lingerie: the historical footprints of the pigeon-as-medium appear all over the world. Perhaps the following squibs will encourage some Necronaut to supply us with some accurate, thoroughly cited data on the material support system for military pigeons. It would be especially good to know something about the badges, mottos and battle dress of the various pigeon services of World Wars One and Two. I would also remind researchers that India's "Orissa Police Pigeon Service" apparently still exists.)))

From: jagenbroad@stinger.ARL.MIL (James Agenbroad)
Re: military pigeon use WWII

I can't remember where I saw it, but I have seen a photo of a British paratrooper unpacking an airdroppable cannister filled with pigeons. The exterior was a metal tube (suspended from the parachute) and inside of this were stacked small wicker baskets with the pigeons. I'm not sure if this was used operationally, or just in maneuvers.

From: (R. Wolff)
Re: pigeon vests

The "pigeon in bondage" sounds like another way to resupply carrier pigeons via airdrop (paratrooper's vest would most likely be to supply pigeons for the platoon to send messages home, while a "human-less" system would be for use by agents behind enemy lines, where it would be undesirable to drop a paratrooper). This bears a resemblance to something I've heard about in passing: pigeons air-dropped in a harness to keep them from flying home immediately after leaving the dropping aircraft, with a parachute to ensure a safe landing for the (temporarily flightless) pigeons.

From: (Tom Jennings)
Re: Pigeons in WWII.

As is obvious now, birds were in use in WWII; I have some surplus Army message pads that have pigeon sheets in the back; thin tough tissue, carbon paper, and a chart of codes for compact communications. Pad was dated 1940's.

From: (Richard Thieme)
Re: dead media and pigeons

Source(s): "Champion Recipes of the 1986 Hong Kong Food Festival". Hong Kong Tourist Association, 1986.

This is to be used when pigeons become dead media.

"'Happy Bird Crosses The Golden Bridge' presents an attractive image featuring the pigeon, a symbol of happiness to the Chinese. The inclusion of winter melon, a summertime seasonal vegetable, as the imagined 'golden bridge' is a culinary play on words: the dish combines two traditional dishes providing a bridge between the contrasting textures and flavours. The garnish == flowering chives == is more than an aesthetic detail, symbolizing the greenery growing along the water's edge.

"To prepare:

"1. Mix the marinade and coat pigeons with it for 2 to 3 minutes.

"2. Remove skin of winter melon and cut 12 slices about 5 cms wide,3 cms long and 2 cms thick. Make a slit sideways on the longest side of each piece and insert one ham slice.

"To cook:

"1. Deep-fry pigeons over a medium flame until golden.

"2. Heat the wok or pot, add 1 tbs oil. When it is very hot, stir-fry ginger and shallots for 1 minute. Then add above stewing seasoning ingredients and pigeons, cover and braise over a slow flame for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove pigeons.

"3. Reserve 1 cup of the pigeon braising stock, to make sauce later.

"4. Double the remaining braising stock's liquid volume by adding water, then immerse winter melon slices. Cook for 5 minutes, then turn off heat. Cover wok, leave winter melon slices for a further 5 minutes (thus ensuring they do not lose their shape through excess direct cooking).

5. Mix sauce ingredients with reserved cup of pigeon braising stock and heat.

"To present: 1. Cut pigeons into pieces and arrange across serving dish. 2. Place six overlapping winter melon slices on each side of pigeons. 3. Pour sauce over, and garnish with flowering chives. Makes 12 servings."

James Agenbroad (jagenbroad@stinger.ARL.MIL)
R. Wolff (
Tom Jennings ( (Richard Thieme)