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Warrior birds of Sussex
A walk through Beach House Park in Worthing is a very pleasant experience. Come through the entrance opposite Worthing Hospital in Lyndhurst Road and you pass by beautifully kept bowling greens and gardens.

I take this walk throughout the year and no matter what the season there are plants, trees and bulbs to admire. Nothing could be further from your mind as you walk past as war.

Yet when you are past all of the bowling greens in front of you is sunken garden feature (pictured  left). Planted with conifers and herbaceous shrubs it is most attractive and hold a little known memorial from World War 2. Not to the brave men and women but to Warrior Birds who gave their life in active service 1939-45.

 

 

 

There are two plaques to the brave birds, one (pictured left) and the other with the quote  "for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter" from Ecclesiastes 10 in the Holy Bible

In 1943, Maria Dicken who was the founder of the PDSA animal charity introduced a medal specifically for animals in war.

The PDSA Dicken Medal which is recognised as the animals equivalent to the Victoria Cross was awarded for "displaying conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty while serving or associated with any branch of the Armed Forces or Civil Defence Units"  It is still being awarded today with Buster the  Springer Spaniel being given it for bravery in Iraq.

Between 1943-9 over 50 birds, mostly pigeons got the medal. One recipient was GI Joe (pictured left) who gained the award "for making the most outstanding flight by a USA Army Pigeon in World War II. Making the 20 mile flight from British 10th Army HQ, in the same number of minutes, it brought a message which arrived just in time to save the lives of at least 100 Allied soldiers from being bombed by their own planes.

So when next in Worthing why not take a trip to the park and celebrate Warrior Birds of Sussex?

 

page created 21/12/11