Finding aid of the Gordon H. Hayes Collection of Materials on the U.S. Army 209th Signal Pigeon Company

Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections
University of the Pacific Library
3601 Pacific Ave.
Stockton, CA 95211
Phone: (209) 946-2404
Fax: (209) 946-2942
URL: http://www.pacific.edu/Library/Find/Holt-Atherton-Special-Collections.html
© 2006
University of the Pacific. All rights reserved.

Finding aid of the Gordon H. Hayes Collection of Materials on the U.S. Army 209th Signal Pigeon Company

Collection number: MSS 294

Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections

University of the Pacific Library

Stockton, California
Encoded by:
Shan Sutton
© 2006 University of the Pacific. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Gordon H. Hayes collection of materials on the U.S. Army 209th Signal Pigeon Company
Dates: 1940-1999
Collection number: MSS 294
Creator: Hayes, Gordon H.
Collection Size: 3 linear feet
Repository: University of the Pacific. Library. Holt-Atherton Dept. of Special Collections
Stockton, California 95211
Abstract: The collection documents the use of racing homer pigeons during World War II to carry messages. The collection consists primarily of publications, photographs, and documents related to WWII and the use of racing pigeons. Also included are messages carried by the pigeons.
Physical location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the library's online catalog.
Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English

Access

Collection open for research.

Publication Rights

Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.

Preferred Citation

Gordon H. Hayes collection of materials on the U.S. Army 209th Signal Pigeon Company. MSS 294. Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library.

Biography / Administrative History

During World War II, Hayes served in the "pigeon corps" of the U.S. Army, where his expertise with racing pigeons was recognized and he was placed in charge of a large group of new men with little experience in racing pigeons. The company started as the 829th Pigeon Platoon or the Africa Pigeon Corp. Later in South Italy, it was changed to the 6681st Signal Pigeon Co. (Prov). Lastly, the name was changed from the 6681st Signal Pigeon Co. to the 209th Signal Pigeon Co.
Hayes's duties took him to the front lines of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Italy and France, where he worked closely with the U.S. and British intelligence services. Often in the dangerous front lines or in covert operations, he worked with such famous pigeons as "G.I. Joe," "Yank," "Rain in the Face," and many more. When the war ended in Europe, Hayes finished his duty in the service as a Master Sergeant. Continuing as a successful bird breeder, the epitome of his career was the breeding of an American dark green and cobalt Indian ring-necked parakeet. The first in the world; a new color mutation. In 1981, Hayes self-published his book, The Pigeons That Went To War about his experiences in the army's pigeon corps.

Scope and Content of Collection

The collection documents the use of racing homer pigeons during World War II to carry messages. The collection consists primarily of publications, photographs, and documents related to WWII and the use of racing pigeons. Also included are messages carried by the pigeons.
A more detailed finding aid for this collection is located in the Special Collections reading room.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Homing pigeons - War use
United States - Army - Signal Corps.