Reigate District Scouts Camp Site
Jordan Heights

Monty the Mascot

The World War 2 headquarters of Gen. Bernard Montgomery were next to Jordan Heights. There were several pigeon lofts on the land that is now Jordan Heights Scout Camp site.The British commander planned the D-Day invasion at a hotel in Reigate. More than 250,000 pigeons were used by the British during the war, often accompanying bomber crews as a "feathered forerunner of the black box." During World War II,  The Dickin Medal, the highest possible decoration for valor given to non-human animals, was awarded to 32 pigeons, The UK maintained the Air Ministry Pigeon Section during World War II and for a while thereafter. A Pigeon Policy Committee made decisions about the uses of pigeons in military contexts. The head of the section, Lea Rayner, reported in 1945 that pigeons could be trained to deliver small explosives or bioweapons to precise targets. The ideas were not taken up by the committee, and in 1948 the UK military stated that pigeons were of no further use. However, the UK security service MI5 was still concerned about the use of pigeons by enemy forces. Until 1950, they arranged for 100 birds to be maintained by a civilian pigeon fancier in order to prepare countermeasures. The Swiss army disbanded its Pigeon section in 1996.

(If anybody has any picture or more information about the use of the camp site during the war please contact us.)

Reigate District Scouts Camp Site Jordan Heights
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