Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Larne flocks together to salute WWII hero Paddy

One of Northern Ireland's smallest Second World War heroes has been honoured in his home town of Larne.

The Paddy Memorial Day was held at Larne Museum and Arts Centre yesterday to honour Paddy, a messenger pigeon who served with the RAF during the Normandy operations in June 1944.

The bird was the fastest pigeon to reach England with a coded message from the the battlefront beaches of D-Day.

He was awarded the Dickin medal, the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross, 65 years ago for his achievements.

The crowd enjoyed a feathered flypast of pigeons which were released by local school children in recognition of Paddy.

Liam Kelly, chairman of the Larne Historical Society, said: “Paddy is the only Irish animal who received the Dickin medal and that’s why he is so special and unique.”

Paddy, a putman pigeon, had covered the 230-mile journey in four hours 50 minutes — braving poor weather conditions and the threat of German falcons deployed to intercept the pigeons — to deliver vital information of the Allies’ progress.

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