HC Deb 03 August 1900 vol 87 cc635-6

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for War whether the pigeon post so useful in the siege of Ladysmith was organised by the War Office or by private enterprise; whether his attention has been called to a letter offering to organise such a service, received from Mr. A. Hirst by the War Office, but which was not answered, and whether the service was afterwards accepted by Sir George White without orders from the War Office; and whether there is any intention on the part of the War Office to organise a service of carrier pigeon communication from the north of Europe towards the British coast.


The pigeon post established at Ladysmith was organised, under the authority of the General Officer commanding, by Messrs. Hirst and Wright, to both of whom the success which attended the working of the system was largely due. The pigeon post was made use of and supervised by the Intelligence Department during the siege. No letter from Mr. Hirst offering to organise a carrier pigeon system can be traced in the War Office. A training establishment for homing pigeons is about to be established at Aldershot.