Thu, Dec 27, 2012 - Page 11 News List

WWII pigeon message stumps GCHQ decoders
二戰信鴿訊息 難倒英政府通信總部解碼員

A wild pigeon sits on the arm of a girl in Tuebingen, Germany on Nov. 9.

Photo: AFP

Britain’s top code-breakers say they are stumped by a secret code found on the leg of a dead pigeon.

The remains of the bird were found in a chimney in Surrey with a message from World War II attached.

Experts at the intelligence agency GCHQ have been struggling to decipher the message since they were provided with it.

The message was discovered by David Martin when he was renovating the chimney of his house in Surrey.

Among the rubbish, he found parts of a dead pigeon including a leg. Attached to the leg was a red canister. Inside the canister was a thin piece of paper with the words “Pigeon Service” at the top and 27 handwritten blocks of code.

“We didn’t really hold out any hopes we would be able to read the message because the sort of codes that were constructed to be used during operations were designed only to be able to be read by the senders and the recipients,” said GCHQ historian Tony, who asked that only his first name be used.

Without fresh information, this pigeon may well have taken its secret to the grave.

(Liberty Times)










1. stump v.

難倒 (nan2 dao3)

例: I was stumped by your questions.


2. decipher v.

解譯 (jie3 yi4)

例: Archaeologists try to decipher the Mayan script to better understand the ancient civilization.


3. hold out v. phr.

抱持 (bao4 chi2)

例: The rescue teams still hold out hope of finding more survivors.


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