b. ? Carnlough, County Antrim. d. 05/1954 Carnlough, County Antrim.
DATE OF DM ACTION: 06/06/1944 Normandy.
Paddy is the only Irish born recipient of the Dickin Medal. He was bred in County Antrim by Captain Andrew Hughes JP, who offered him to the Air/Sea Rescue during the Second World War. He began completing flights from the RAF station in Northern Ireland from May 1943 to March 1944. His speed and consistency was soon noticed by Sergeant MacLean who was gathering the best carrier pigeons to take part in the D-Day landings in Normandy. MacLean had a secret weapon in ensuring Paddy’s abilities – he owned Paddy’s “wife”.
Paddy’s flight times improved dramatically when he was in a loft with his “wife”, who was a home bird. MacLean took both birds to the South of England to prepare for the invasion. After several test flights, Paddy was ranked the best pigeon and given the code number NPS.43.9451. In the Normandy landings, Paddy was released deep in French territory, and had to fly 230 miles to reach his loft. He completed the journey in the fastest recorded time of 4 hours and 5 minutes. For this he was awarded the Dickin Medal.
After the end of the war, he returned to Northern Ireland and Captain Hughes. He bred several outstanding pigeons whilst in retirement until 1954. Tragically in May 1954, a peregrine falcon suddenly swooped over the garden, and many of the pigeons, including Paddy, panicked and flew into the electricity wires. Paddy sadly broke his neck in the incident.
For the best recorded time with a message from the Normandy Operations, while serving with the RAF in June, 1944.
BURIAL LOCATION: UNKNOWN.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: PRIVATELY HELD.