b. ? d. ?
DATE OF DM ACTION: 19/08/1942 Dieppe, France.
Beach Comber (Service Number NPS.41.NS.4230) was bred by a Mr W Lane of Ipswich, Suffolk. On the outbreak of World War II, he joined the National Pigeon Service. On 19th August 1942, the Allied raid on Dieppe, France was scheduled to take place.
The raid began at 05.00hrs with over 6,000 infantrymen, predominantly Canadians, supported by large British naval and Allied air force contingents. Preparations had been made and a small pigeon by the name of Beach Comber had completed practice flights from Belfast, Berwick and Penzance to the loft in Reigate. Radio equipment was taken on the raid, but two pigeons were included as a precaution. One of the two birds was Beach Comber.
The raid began badly. The German defences were well positioned across the hills above the town. Their artillery fire was very accurate, and they moved forward as if they had prior knowledge of the attack. Once on the beach, the Canadians were met with heavy machine gun fire which prevented their progress. Radio communication was broken and they couldnt withdraw. In an act of desperation, the two birds were released with details. The first was shot down and killed. The only hope for rescue was the second bird – Beach Comber.
Beach Comber managed to fly out to sea, and travelling at over 50mph, arrived at the operational HQ with all messages intact. The information led to the order for withdrawal from Dieppe at 09.00hrs. For his actions, Beach Comber was awarded the Dickin Medal on 16th March 1944.
For bringing the first news to this country of the landing at Dieppe, under hazardous conditions in September 1942, while serving with the Canadian Army.
BURIAL LOCATION: UNKNOWN.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: UNKNOWN.