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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello All,

Full admission: I am not a fancier.

I have restored a 1943 Willys MB Army jeep that I am theme-ing for parades and historical events as a "Pigeoneer". The facility where pigeons were bred and trained (Ft Monmouth, NJ) has just been closed by the Army. I worked there for 25 years, and while my expertise is with electronic equipment, the history of these amazing birds has always been near and dear to my heart. Pigeons - and their handlers - played a vital role in WWII; many of the birds were awarded medals typically given only to humans for their bravery and endurance. (My personal favorite is Mocker, who lost an eye from shrapnel wounds, yet completed his mission of over 200 miles.) Formed into Signal Pigeon Companies, "Pigeoneers" had lofts at HQ areas, and would taking their homing/carrier pigeons into the field for combat duty in wooden crates (2- and 4-bird varieties, nomencaltured PG-102/CB and -104/CB respectively).

These carriers are very rare and hard to find. A one-time temporary member (Dong32117) popped up here last year looking to sell one. I have sent a msg to him, but I would like to extend a query to all:

If you know of or come across a source for the original carriers, or for reproduction versions, I would appreciate you posting the information here. I have original manuals, message books, message capsules, and leg bands; the carriers would be the piece de resistance to my efforts in honoring these men and their birds.

Thanks.
 

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We have one on display at our clubhouse. Otherwise I haven't seen any others in person. Occasionally see them on ebay along with other pigeoneer things. I would love to have the stuff myself!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks, Wayne. Those are great shots. I have similar pictures and actual technical manuals, with blueprints and dimensions. The Signal Corps museum at Ft Monmouth (now in a warehouse at APG, Maryland) has a full set of everything (incl hero birds under glass with their medals - they were sent to zoos around the country in 1957 when the Pigeon Service was disbanded, and several were returned when they died, almost all in the early 60's). You'd think there'd be repros on the market, but I have yet to find one. Building one myself is going to be my next step.

Semper Fi, Becky.
 

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They actually are not that hard to find. I have seen several on Ebay over the last few years. I bought one that is in immaculate condition, but it is from the British Military. It is made of wicker. It carries two birds strapped into soft "beds", and it comes with the equipment to set up an exercise pen for the birds to stretch in. The instructions state that the birds are to be allowed to exercise every four hours (if memory serves me correctly, it is four, but could be six).

I bought that because it seems a lot rarer than the U.S. military container.

The U.S. had two bird and four bird containers and they are basically just wooden boxes. Kind of ugly if you ask me. But....they are history for sure.

The military had a procedure that any mesage sent, had to be sent with two pigeons. Each with the exact same message. Just increasing their odss of the message making it to headquarters.

I do have one or two of the U.S. military leg band capsules. Plus one or two of the British capsules. The U.S. are plastic and screw together, and the British are like cardboard and just push together.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Thanks, conditionfreak. Not going to argue with you about their availability. I guess it depends on one's definition of "hard" and "find". You're right - they're out there (as I've already posted, someone usernamed dong32117 popped up here last Sept with one, which is how I found this forum), but waiting months or years for one to pop up on eBay or Bonanza or, better yet, a huge special militaria type antiques outfit such as Hayes Otoupalik (which has plenty of other pigeoneering paraphernalia nearly all the time...) doing a search a few times per week, or random hits on craigslist type venues is not my definition of 'not too hard' or 'finding', especially compared to the relative ease of finding other militaria. If you have a source for one now, I'd love to have it.

The US used wicker, too, in WWI, so yes, yours are older and rarer. And they are extremely handsome. Hope you enjoy them. Were they backpack or stand-alone? The Brits and the US Army Signal Corps also had field release carriers that they strapped to their backpack frames. Some of them had a canvas sort of sleeve that wrapped around with a wooden handle for hand-carrying and leather straps with buckles.

As for the 'beauty' of the PG-102 and 104 - I guess it's in the eye of the beholder.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
That's a gorgeous wicker field release carrier, conditionfreak. I've only seen black and white period photos of them with their sleeves on. Does it have any British military markings on it?

And thanks for being willing to keep an eye out for the US Signal Corps crates...
 

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The only markings I can find are:

F. LERCH
Derendingen
58

All inscribed on the leather carrying strap. A google search of "Derendingen" shows that there is an area in Germany with that name and an area in Switzerland with that name.
 

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Pigeon Carrier, PG-102/cb

Was about to sell one in a garage sale I found many years ago, but thought I'd best Google the box first; thus I found/joined this forum. I feel pretty sure mine is a pre-production model; it might even have been made in Mississippi where I found it. It has holes drilled for a handle (no handle), and it is not painted in its ultimate olive drab. As a long-time antiquer, it's certainly the only one I've ever seen. I'm busy getting ready for this garage sale, but I will post pictures in the near future. Needless to say, I've pulled the box from the sale!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Please post photos - from several agnles if possible - and do NOT sell that box in a garage sale. How do you know it's a PG/102-CB? Is it stenciled? Or does it have a data plate? There are collectors that would be very interested.
 

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PG-102/CB Carrier Box

Yes, I'll post pictures from all angles and exact dimensions. The box is primarily plywood "in the raw", except a thin grey paint/stain was applied just to the area where the metal hardware was installed (hinges and latches). Doesn't look like it's ever been used.
 

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Look on e-bay today. There is a single and double carrier box for sale. Kenny

Look under WWII pigeon
 
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