Category Archives: news

A Unique Poppy Thief

One of our members passed this news item along and asked that we share it.


Pigeon Creates Beautiful Nest After Secretly Stockpiling Poppies from War Memorial

pigeon with poppy in its beak

Poppies have become a lasting symbol of the endurance and perseverance of wounded soldiers, especially since they’ve been seen growing on battlefields after World War I. They’re particularly prominent on Remembrance Day, which honors those who have died in the line of duty and is celebrated across the UK and Commonwealth states. Observed since the end of World War I (as early as 1919), associations have sold cotton or silk poppies to raise money for veterans. In Australia, one animal decided to pay their respects by using poppies in a decidedly different way.

Since early October, the staff at the Australian War Memorial had noticed that poppies were disappearing from the Tomb of the Unknown Australian Soldier. It caused some confusion until the staff looked up. There they saw that a pigeon has been carefully crafting a nest on the ledge of a stained glass window. The fact that the pigeon was the poppy thief was actually a pleasant surprise given the role that these birds had during times of war.

To continue reading, click here.


Other coverage of this “thief” included:

News: Remembering the Battle of the Atlantic

Remembering the Battle of the Atlantic

By Steph Crosier, Kingston Whig-Standard

Bill Fitsell, at his home in Kingston on Saturday, reads the diary he wrote while serving in the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War. (Steph Crosier/The Whig-Standard)

Bill Fitsell, at his home in Kingston on Saturday, reads the diary he wrote while serving in the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War. (Steph Crosier/The Whig-Standard).

KINGSTON – On June 5, 1944, Bill Fitsell was in Wales with the crew of HMCS Outremont when he wrote in his diary that he could tell something was coming.

The following day — D-Day — Fitsell wrote “At sea. INVASION started. Outremont on patrol. Exercised action stations in the afternoon. Listened to news all day.”

For a 75-year-old paper diary that crossed the Atlantic Ocean with Fitsell four times during the war, it is in decent shape. It’s a little tattered, a little worn on the edges, but Fitsell knows its importance some day to his family when he is gone and keeps it in a zip-lock bag.

Fitsell said his mother bought him the diary and he wrote in it religiously as a way to always remember.

“Sometimes you can’t keep it all, a diary is a good way to remember even the small things,” Fitsell.

On May 7, Fitsell will be remembering the Second World War further at the Anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic parade alongside HMCS Cataraqui.

To continue reading, visit the Kingston Whig-Standard website at http://www.thewhig.com/2017/04/23/remembering-the-battle-of-the-atlantic

Cooper Honors 98-Year-Old Elk Grove Resident as Veteran of the Year

Assemblymember Jim Cooper with the 9th Assembly District’s 2015 Veteran of the Year Honoree Danny Mander in the Assembly Chambers.

SACRAMENTO – In a ceremony this week, Assemblymember Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove) honored Elk Grove resident and former Winston Churchill body guard, Danny Mander as the 9th Assembly District’s Veteran of the Year. Mander was recently featured in a Sacramento Bee profile, detailing anecdotes of his historic time in military service.

“This week, the Assembly honored our most highly decorated veterans and I am proud to recognize a resident from my district with such a unique role in military history,” said Cooper.

Danny Mander, 98, is most recognized for his role as the head military officer during World War II’s Tehran Conference of 1945 with President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin, and Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

Mander served as a royal military police officer during the “Blitz” capturing Nazi pilots shot down in the south of England. He was also a bodyguard for General Montgomery. After the defeat of Rommel, Mander was reassigned to hunt Nazi spies embedded in the Middle East leading a counter espionage campaign that uncovered several Nazi plots leading to the end of the war.

Mander, a Royal Military Police warrant officer, was only 23 when he was put in charge of 100 military policemen at the Tehran Conference, the first strategy meeting between Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin to plan an offensive against the Nazi’s and the Japanese. He also protected Queen Elizabeth when she was a teenage princess.

In addition to serving as Winston Churchill’s bodyguard, Mander also served as the bodyguard for British Field Marshal Bernard “Monty” Montgomery during the 1942 North African campaign to defeat German General Rommel “the desert fox”.

Mander served in South England’s “Battle of Britain”, and the Middle East including Iran, Iraq, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Cairo, and North Africa. He is a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the US, Royal military police, British legion, and the Canadian legion.

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Assemblymember Cooper represents the Cities of Sacramento, Elk Grove, Galt and Lodi.

Originally available from https://a09.asmdc.org/press-release/cooper-honors-98-year-old-elk-grove-resident-veteran-year