- A fantastic WW2 story told for the first time
- Following the exploits of the Secret Pigeon Service
- A must-read for military history enthusiasts
BBC security correspondent Gordon Corera reveals the story of MI14 and the Secret Pigeon Service during the Second World War for the first time in this compelling read.
Using extensive original research and declassified documents, he reveals the inner workings of 'Columba' - an operation that saw 16,000 plucky homing pigeons dropped in an arc from Bourdeaux to Copenhagen in an effort to bring back intelligence from those living under Nazi occupation.
The messages came flooding back from France, the Netherlands and Belgium - all written on tiny pieces of rice paper that had been tucked into canisters and tied to the legs of the birds - and these authentic messages ranged from the comic to the tragic and occasionally invaluable, giving British Intelligence advance notice of German troop movements, weapons and more.
Corera also looks at the people behind this mission, not many of who were trained agents or experienced in spying. He focuses in particular on the Leopold Vindictive network, a small group of Belgian villagers - led by priest Joseph Raskin - who were always prepared to risk everything. This is a powerful and tragic tale of wartime espionage that looks at a quirky and quarrelsome band of spy masters and their unique operations.
Hardback. 336 pages.