November 28, 2011

Statue: Au Pigeon Voyageur


Au Pigeon Voyageur.


During WWI a major line of communication used by the French army was pigeons voyageurs (carrier pigeons).

Once the Germans occupied the North of France, they outlawed the use of pigeons voyageurs.

To be caught releasing pigeons was punishable by death, and to be in possession was punishable with three years in prison. All citizens who had pigeons voyageurs were supposed to turn them over to German authorities.

These anti-pigeon laws didn't stop certain Nordist from using their pigeons voyageurs, however. Many pigeons and colombophilies (pigeon raisers) were killed during the war.


Translation: "To the pigeon raisers who died for France, shot by the enemy for having sent pigeons voyageurs."


In 1936, France built a monument dedicated to the French pigeons that died and the French colombophilies who were killed.

Not only do these carrier pigeons have a monument dedicated to them, but those who survived the war were often decorated as soldiers.


La colombophile, le bouclier, et le serpant (The pigeon raiser, the shield, and the snake).


In the statue, the colombophiles are represented by a woman surrounded by pigeons. The strength of the French pigeons is shown by the circular shield decorated with a single piegon, protecting the colombophile from the enemy, here in the form of a snake.

Check it out:
At the Entrance to the Citadel,
At the end of Le Point de la Citadel,
Lille

Sources: Newsletter de Verdun-Meuse, and wikipedia.

5 comments:

  1. That is interesting...Who would have guessed that a statue would be erected for the pigeon raisers and the pigeons who died because they used them to send messages? Amazing.

    Kris

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  2. I just visited the Caen Memorial and there was no mention of this - thanks for the history lesson!

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  3. Thanks for sharing another interesting Frenchhistorical story. I never knew about the pigeons and their raisers.

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  4. Kris: I thought it really strange at first that there was a statue to carrier pigeons, but after doing this research I completely agree with the fact that they made the monument.

    chickster: You're welcome!

    Joshua: Agreed.

    Marianne: You're welcome. I'm glad to share a bit of the regions history. Plus I feel like only the French (and apparently the Belgium have one too, but they hardly count) would build a giant statue dedicated to pigeons.

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