b. ? RAF Detling, Kent. d. ?
DATE OF DM ACTION: 1945 Germany.
Ruhr Express (code NPS.43.29018) was a large dark chequered cock with a sheen of green and blue around his neck. He was bred and trained at RAF Detling, Kent. After nearly 3 years of excellent service and emergency intercommunication, he was selected from the RAF pigeons to accompany a US force on a reconnaissance mission behind enemy lines in the Ruhr. During his service he proved himself to be a crack pigeon and such was his success, he was used to train other pigeons.
On the mission, intelligence was gathered and Ruhr Express was despatched with messages and he had to fly 300 miles overnight to his loft. He did so in good time and the information received was very useful in the following Allied invasion of the Ruhr. He survived the war and attended shows and festivals where crowds gathered to see the feathered war hero. At one of these fairs, the Bethnal Pigeon Show, he was presented with the Dickin Medal.
He was then placed for auction at the PDSA Show in the grounds of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea to raise money for the RAF Benevolent Fund and the Allied Forces Animals’ War Memorial. He was eventually sold for a record price of £420. The new owner used him and another bird, Per Ardua, to start a new strain of long distance flyers.
For carrying an important message from the Ruhr Pocket in excellent time, while serving with the RAF in April, 1945.
BURIAL LOCATION: UNKNOWN.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: UNKNOWN.