top of page
  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Local residents “disgusted” after ‘Paddy the Pigeon’ memorial plaque torn from wall and destroyed

Vandalised paddy the pigeon plaque

Carnlough residents have expressed their disgust and anger after a memorial plaque to ‘Paddy the Pigeon’ - a locally raised bird that played a special role during the D-Day landings in 1944, was destroyed overnight.


A commemoration event took place in the seaside village earlier this week (Thursday 6th June) and was attended by Mayor of Mid & East Antrim, Ald Beth Adger, as well as members of the local community, including children from the village primary schools.



Just days later the plaque was torn off the wall and destroyed sometime between Saturday evening (8th) and Sunday morning (9th June).


The memorial plaque for Paddy the Pigeon in Carnlough and wreath that was laid; Members of the local community who gathered on Thursday; Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Ald Beth Adger; Local residents and primary school children who gathered to remember Paddy the Pigeon’s efforts in WWII.

Pictured is (clockwise): The memorial plaque for Paddy the Pigeon in Carnlough and wreath that was laid; Members of the local community who gathered on Thursday; Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Ald Beth Adger; Local residents and primary school children who gathered to remember Paddy the Pigeon’s efforts in WWII.


Born and raised in Carnlough, Paddy the Pigeon was a hero of World War II who played a crucial role in the Allied forces' success during the Normandy landings on D-Day.


Paddy was owned and bred by Captain Andrew Hughes who had seen service during the Great War, and was jointly trained by John McMullan of Carnlough.


He was one of the many pigeons used by the Royal Air Force (RAF) during the war. These pigeons were trained to carry secret coded messages between the Allies, providing vital communication links.



On June 12, 1944, Paddy was released in Normandy, carrying coded information about the Allied advance. Despite the challenges posed by bad weather and German falcons trained to intercept messenger pigeons, Paddy made it back to his base in Hampshire, England, in a record time of four hours and fifty minutes. This was the fastest recorded time for any pigeon during the Normandy landings.


September 1, 1944. Paddy the Pigeon receives his Dickin Medal. Credit: British Pathé/YouTube


For his service, Paddy was awarded the Dickin Medal on September 1, 1944. This medal is the highest honor an animal can receive in the UK, equivalent to the Victoria Cross for humans. Paddy is the only Irish recipient of this prestigious award.


After the war, Paddy returned to his home in Carnlough, where he lived until his death in 1954, at the ripe old age of 11.


The plaque was installed in the village to remember the endeavours of the feathered-friend and to commemorate his bravery and service.



Members of the local community posted their anger online. Among the many comments were:


“OMG. Why would anyone do that? Absolutely sickening.”


“Disgraceful.”


“SO disrespectful. No need for that.”


“Absolutely disgusting!!!! Horrified to see this today.”


“An absolute disgrace… they should be ashamed of themselves.”


“How do we explain this to all the schoolchildren who were at the remembrance ceremony last week? I'm shocked, angry and embarrassed for the ignorant imbeciles who carried out this destruction. Maybe they hate pigeon fanciers????”


Paddy the pigeon's trainer, John McMullan, at his home in Carnlough, Co Antrim in 2009 aged 88.

(Photo: Paul Faith)


Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Ald Beth Adger described the incident as “ridiculous”. She added:


“We enjoyed a lovely service on Thursday morning, and it was lovely to see children from both local schools attend.


“I certainly hope police apprehend those responsible and would ask for anyone with information to contact the PSNI on 101.


“There is no need for behaviour like this.”



Police have appealed for information following the incident. A police spokesperson told Love Ballymena:


“Police are investigating after a memorial plaque was damaged in Carnlough overnight.


“The marble tile was torn from its mount at the Heritage Centre on Harbour Road and smashed.


“Anyone who witnessed the damage being caused or who may have other information regarding this crime is asked to contact police on 101, quoting reference 481 09/06/24.”

Comentarios


bottom of page