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Top Secret WWII Message Found In Surrey Chimney

A message, carried by a long-dead pigeon, was found 70 years later in a chimney

smithsonian.com

A Bulgarian postage stamp celebrating carrier pigeons. Photo: Karen Horton

For the past 70 years or so, a coded message sent back to England by Special Operations Executive Sergeant W. Stott, who was operating, presumably, deep within Nazi territory, had been lost to time, hidden away in the decommissioned chimney of a Surrey home. The carrier pigeon who had transported the message, rolled up on a thin sheet of paper in a bright red capsule, died and fell into the chimney, says the Daily Mail.

Britain’s Special Operations Executives “undertook sabotage missions such as blowing up trains, bridges and factories in German-occupied territory,” says the Daily Mail. But, the contents of the message remain unknown, as the note was written in code—one which no one has yet been able to decipher.

The message, addressed simply to “X02,” appears as an unintelligible sequence of capital letters: “AOAKN HVPKD FNFJU YIDDC” reads the first of seven rows. The message, says the Mail, “has been sent to code breakers at Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire, the intelligence centre where work to crack the Nazi Enigma code shortened the war by years, and to their modern-day counterparts at GCHQ in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, who also are trying to decipher it.”

More from Smithsonian.com:
Closing the Pigeon Gap

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About Colin Schultz
Colin Schultz

Colin Schultz is a freelance science writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs for Smart News and contributes to the American Geophysical Union. He has a B.Sc. in physical science and philosophy, and a M.A. in journalism.

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