Since the war’s early days, there has been stringent restrictions placed on the use of racing pigeons in Jersey. Concerned that enemy spies may use such birds for transmitting illicit messages, the authorities have prohibited local pigeon owners from flying their birds. Following guarded support from the Lieutenant Governor, however, there has been recent hope of a limited pigeon race from Guernsey to Jersey. This has now ended following an Admiralty decision that no birds can be released.
Anxious to exercise their valuable birds, local pigeon owners had approached the Pigeon Officer, Deputy John Cory, with a possible solution. They proposed sending pigeons to the Royal Navy’s Pigeon Station in Guernsey, with a request that its staff release the birds. Alternatively, the Senior Naval Officer there might sanction a release in Alderney or from a ship between the islands.
Showing an understanding of the pigeon owners’ plight, the Lieutenant Governor contacted his counterpart in Guernsey about the proposal. After several weeks, and consultation with the Admiralty, the response is a regrettable no. Their concern remains that enemy agents may see the event as an opportunity to release birds of their own.
A/E/8/19 contains information on local wartime pigeon restrictions included the proposed inter-insular race turned down in July 1918