Northern Ireland

Memorial celebrating WW2 hero Paddy the Pigeon destroyed in Co Antrim

Carrier pigeon awarded medal for its war service had been celebrated at event in Carnlough last week

A plaque celebrating WW2 carrier pigeon Paddy has been destroyed in Carnlough. PICTURE: @WARTIMENI/X
A plaque celebrating WW2 carrier pigeon Paddy has been destroyed in Carnlough. PICTURE: @WARTIMENI/X

A memorial to a carrier pigeon which brought news to England of the D-Day landings in 1944 has been destroyed in Co Antrim just days after a celebration remembering the bird’s wartime efforts.

The plaque in Carnlough celebrated Paddy the Pigeon, who was hatched in the village and went on to become the first carrier pigeon to deliver news of the successful landings in Normandy back to England.

The bird carried coded information regarding the Allied advance back across the channel on June 12, flying 230 miles in just under hours.

Last Thursday an event was held in Carnlough to celebrate the pigeon, which was awarded the Dickin Medal - an honour recognising the work of animals in World War 2.

School children attended the event, at which a wreath was laid on behalf of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.

However, the plaque, which was installed at Carnlough Harbour in 2009 by the Larne and District Historical Society, was shattered sometime between Saturday night and Sunday morning.

Among those to condemn the incident was UUP leader Doug Beattie, who said in a post on X that the attack was “utterly pointless and disgraceful”.

A PSNI spokesperson said it was investigating the damage.

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

“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.”