b. ? Cairo, Egypt. d. ?
DATE OF DM ACTION: 06/1943 North Africa.
Tyke was hatched in Cairo, Egypt, from British and South African parents, and was seconded into military service. Bomber crews would carry homing pigeons in order to get word of their location back to home base should they be shot down.
Tyke, also known as ‘George’ was given the service number 1263 MEPS 43 and was stationed in North Africa. In June 1943 the American bomber he was stationed on was shot down, and crash landed in the Mediterranean Sea, and Tyke was released in order to get help. Unfortunately, he was released into the air with only a partial message which read “Crew safe in dingy 10 west of..”
Tyke was then faced with a perilous flight of over 100 miles in awful conditions. An air search was begun immediately but visibility was so poor it was abandoned. On arrival back to base, it was learned that Tyke had homed in with his incomplete message. Calculating the speed of his flight and accounting for the weather, a search was resumed and the crew were found safe and well in the dingy.
Tyke was awarded the Dickin Medal for his actions, an animal-only medal issued by the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals. He was one of the first pigeons to be awarded the Dickin Medal, along with White Vision and Winkie, who each received the award on 2 December 1943.
In July 2000, Tyke’s Dickin Medal was auctioned by Spink Auction House in London. It was sold for the sum of £4,830 ($7,313) after receiving an initial top estimate of £3,500 ($5,299). Fellow Dickin medallist Peter’s medal was auctioned at the same event.
For delivering a message under exceptionally difficult conditions and so contributing to the rescue of an Air Crew, while serving with the RAF in the Mediterranean in June, 1943.
BURIAL LOCATION: UNKNOWN.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: PRIVATELY HELD.