Billy DM

b. c. 1941 Lincoln.  d. ?

DATE OF DM ACTION: 18/02/1942 Holland.

Billy DM

Billy was bred in Lincoln by Mr J Greenwood, and was just 11 months old when he was selected for wartime service with the National Pigeon Service and is one of the youngest recipients of the Dickin Medal.

On 18th February 1942 he was part of the crew of a Handley Page Hampden bomber when it set off from RAF Addington during bad weather with Captain Robert Kee aboard as pilot. Sergeants Ruttlidge, Adams and Baker made up the crew. Their mission was to lay mines off the Frisian Island of Terschelling. As the bomber neared the island, they were spotted, and came under intense fire. They were forced to crash land at 5.10pm in a snow storm; Sergeants Baker and Adams were killed instantly. Captain Kee moved through the wreckage and found Ruttlidge with a broken leg. They managed to escape from the aircraft and the Captain realised that Billy was their own hope of rescue.

Billy was faced with a journey of 250 miles in a gale-driven snow storm. The chances of Billy making it were slim, but he did so, reaching his loft in England at 1.40pm the following day. He was in a state of collapse. Sadly, he was too late in delivering the message. By the time a rescue mission could be launched both Captain Kee and Sergeant Ruttlidge had been captured by the Germans and were in a POW Camp.

Billy was awarded the Dickin Medal on 8th September 1945.



For delivering a message from a force-landed bomber, while in a state of complete collapse and under exceptionally bad weather conditions, while serving with the RAF in 1942.