b. ? Sandringham, Norfolk. d. ?
DATE OF DM ACTION: 1940 Holland.
Royal Blue was a pigeon bred at the Royal loft at Sandringham House, Norfolk, and was owned by King George VI. His name came from his royal connections and his breed as he was a blue cock. When war broke out in 1939, the King made all his pigeons available to the National Pigeon Service. Royal Blue stood out for his speed and was drafted with the code NURP.40.GVIS.453.
By October 1940 the war was in full swing and Royal Blue, still less than a year old, was placed in a small cage on board a bomber set for a flight to Holland. The crew were forced to crash-land having come under heavy enemy fire. The men released Royal Blue at 07.20hrs. They were 120 miles from her loft but she made the flight in four hours ten minutes. This was the first time a bird had been able to fly back to a loft with details of the whereabouts of a crash-landed bomber. A rescue attempt was launched immediately and the ditched crew were found safe.
In April 1945, the PDSA wrote to King George VI asking if he would accept a Dickin Medal on behalf of Royal Blue. He graciously accepted.
For being the first pigeon in this war to deliver a message from a forced landed aircraft on the continent while serving with the RAF in October 1940.
BURIAL LOCATION: UNKNOWN.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: HM ROYAL COLLECTION.