This Bloody Bird
From: The Memoirs of Field-Marshal the Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, K.G., 1958
I returned to the Western Front in France early in 1916, this time as a brigade-major. During the Somme battle that summer an infantry brigade, which had better remain nameless, was to be the leading brigade in a divisional attack. It was important that the Brigade Commander should receive early information of the progress of his forward troops since this would affect the movement of reserves in the rear. The problem then arose how to ensure the early arrival of the required information, and intense interest was aroused at Brigade H.Q. when it was disclosed that a pigeon would be used to convey the news. In due course the bird arrived and was kept for some days in a special pigeon loft. When the day of the attack arrived the pigeon was given to a soldier to carry. He was to go with the leading sub-units and was told that at a certain moment an officer would write a message to be fastened to the pigeon's leg; he would then release the pigeon which would fly back to its loft at Brigade H.Q. The attack was launched and the Brigade Commander waited anxiously for the arrival of the pigeon. Time was slipping by and no pigeon arrived; the Brigadier walked feverishly about outside his H.Q. dugout. The soldiers anxiously searched the skies; but there was no sign of any pigeon.
At last the cry went up: "The pigeon," and sure enough back it came and alighted safely in the loft.
Soldiers rushed to get the news and the Brigade Commander roared out: "Give me the message."
It was handed to him, and this is what he read: "I am absolutely fed up with carrying this bloody bird about France."
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