Full copy of RAF Pigeon Service Manual
December 25, 2020 11:52 PM   Subscribe

I recently came across the Pigeon Service Manual — not primarily a guide to servicing pigeons, but a guide for members of the Royal Air Force Pigeon Service describing how to care for, train, and deploy carrier pigeons.

I've found several links to it online, including this PDF, but they all seem to be missing pages — the index states that there are at least 100 pages, but I've only found ~20 of them online.

Does anyone know where I could find a full copy in a digital format?

Several choice quotes that have piqued my interest:
The number of messages which have failed to reach their destination is less than 5 per cent., and of this 5 per cent., a considerable proportion has been due to ignorance of the pigeon’s capabilities, the method of handling, or improperly attached messages.
To release the pigeon, the bird should be held as one would hold a stick, and then thrown, opening the hand immediately so as not to pull out any feathers.
Over distances ranging from 20 to 30 miles in fine weather one pigeon can always be relied upon to reach home with a message. In bad weather, or over greater distances, it is advisable the message should be sent in duplicate by two separate pigeons.
Fair visibility is essential to a bird in flight. If visibility is bad, a pigeon frequently endeavours to perch on the wing tip of the machine.
Observers in all cases where pigeons are available, make sure that pigeons are in the machine before leaving on patrol
Care should be taken not to lose pigeons down the fuselage — this has often been done.
I've also found The Homing Pigeon: War Department Technical Manual TM 11-410, which I intend to peruse shortly.
posted by wesleyac to Writing & Language (4 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The index is listing paragraphs, not page numbers - the pdf you linked to looks like the full thing
posted by sarahdal at 3:13 AM on December 26, 2020 [4 favorites]

Don’t know if you have access to US eBay, but I see two for sale there.

Abusing edit window to add: sorry I didn’t see digital format. Moderators should feel free to delete.
posted by FencingGal at 4:09 AM on December 26, 2020

Response by poster: sarahdal: Oh, I feel dumb now, it is indeed in paragraphs. Another reason that I though it may be incomplete is that I found this illustration, but looking at that again, it seems to just be referencing the Pigeon Service Manual, not actually a part of it. Thanks for pointing that out!
posted by wesleyac at 4:27 PM on December 26, 2020 [1 favorite]

No problem! I was confused too initially, then took a closer look. Also what a great little document it is.
posted by sarahdal at 4:39 AM on December 27, 2020

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