Lost German military message resurfaces 110 years later in France
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Lost German military message resurfaces 110 years later in France

Winkie the pigeon, who received the Dickin Medal after she completed an arduous 120-mile flight home from the North Sea, where the crew of a Bristol Beaufort had been brought down by enemy fire in February 1942. Credit: MUS160051©Air Force Museum of New Zealand.

An “extremely rare” discovery has been made in Alsace, where a German military message has miraculously resurfaced in 2020 after likely being lost while being sent by carrier pigeon in 1910.

The message, protected in “a small aluminium capsule”, was found by chance in September in a field in Ingersheim by a couple on a walk. On the advice of relatives, the couple handed over the capsule and its message to the Musée du Linge, located not far from the place of the find.

Inside the capsule is a very well-preserved handwritten message, written in German on a “sort of tracing paper”, in a writing close to the Gothic style and difficult to understand, explains Dominique Jardy, the curator of the Orbey Linen Memorial, confirming information from the regional daily newspaper Les Dernières Nouvelles d’Alsace (DNA).

“A find like this is extremely rare,” enthused Dominique Jardy, who confided that “in forty years” he had “never seen anything like this”. According to him, the capsule has undoubtedly come to the surface over time, as is sometimes the case with grenades or shells from the two world wars.

Jardy called on “a German friend” to decipher the message. The note was sent by an officer of a Prussian infantry regiment, then stationed north of Ingersheim, to a superior of the same regiment. The text refers to German manoeuvres between Bischwihr and Ingersheim, at a time when Alsace was German.

There is still some uncertainty as to when they were sent, particularly the year, as the last figure is less legible: 16 July 1910 or 1916? 1910, said Jardy, who considers “impossible that it was 1916”, even though checks will be carried out.

As for the message, it will no doubt be exhibited at the Musée du Linge, with certain steps taken to ensure it does not deteriorate.

The Brussels Times