On Saturday 14 July, the Cumbrian Region of the Royal Pigeon Racing Association will be commemorating the centenary of World War 1 with an open race from Ypres in Belgium.
Pigeon fanciers within the Cumbrian region want to recognise the sacrifice that the armed forces took in the First World War and the bravery of the homing pigeons involved.
Carrier pigeons played a vital part in World War One acting as military messengers with their homing ability and speed. Over 100,000 pigeons were used in the war with a success rate of 95% in delivering their messages.
Pigeons from the Royal Loft were also used as carrier pigeons in both World Wars. 32 pigeons were presented with the Dickin Medal including Royal Blue from the Sandringham Estate who was recognised for gallantry in its role of reporting a lost aircraft in 1940.
The pigeons involved in the race will fly from Ypres back to their individual lofts located in Cumbria and the surrounding areas. The journey by car is 444.5 miles and would take over 8 and a half hours – but these incredible birds can travel at speeds of 70 mph and are estimated to complete the race within 5-6 hours.
Leslie Blacklock, Secretary of the Cumbria Region for the Royal Pigeon Racing Association comments: “The Ypres open race is a great opportunity for pigeon fanciers within the Cumbrian region to commemorate 100 years since the end of WWI. Pigeons played such vital role in both World Wars and it seems only natural to celebrate their bravery with this race.”
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