Operation Columba--The Secret Pigeon Service by Gordon Corera audiobook

Operation Columba--The Secret Pigeon Service: The Untold Story of World War II Resistance in Europe

By Gordon Corera
Read by Derek Perkins

HarperAudio, HarperCollins 9780062667076
9.58 Hours Unabridged
Format: Digital Download (In Stock)
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The fascinating, untold story of how British intelligence secretly used homing pigeons as part of a clandestine espionage operation to gather information, communicate, and coordinate with members of the Resistance to defeat the Nazis in occupied Europe during World War II. Between 1941 and 1944, British intelligence dropped sixteen thousand homing pigeons in an arc across Nazi-occupied Europe, from Bordeaux, France to Copenhagen, Denmark, as part of a spy operation code-named Columba. Returning to MI14, the secret government branch in charge of the "Special Pigeon Service," the birds carried messages that offered a glimpse of life under the Germans in rural France, Holland, and Belgium. Written on tiny pieces of rice paper tucked into canisters and tied to the birds’ legs, these messages were sometimes comic, often tragic, and occasionally invaluable—reporting details of German troop movements and fortifications, new Nazi weapons, radar systems, and even the deployment of the feared V-1 and V-2 rockets used to terrorize London. The people who sent these messages were not trained spies. They were ordinary men and women willing to risk their lives in the name of freedom, including the "Leopold Vindictive" network—a small group of Belgian villagers led by an extraordinary priest named Joseph Raskin. The intelligence Raskin sent back by pigeon proved so valuable that it reached Churchill and MI6 parachuted agents behind enemy lines to assist him. Gordon Corera uses declassified documents and extensive original research to tell the story of the Operation Columba and the Secret Pigeon Service for the first time. A powerful tale of wartime espionage, bitter rivalries, extraordinary courage, astonishing betrayal, harrowing tragedy, and a quirky, quarrelsome band of spy masters and their special mission, Operation Columba opens a fascinating new chapter in the annals of World War II. It is ultimately, the story of how, in one of the darkest and most dangerous times in history, under threat of death, people bravely chose to resist.

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Summary

Summary

The fascinating, untold story of how British intelligence secretly used homing pigeons as part of a clandestine espionage operation to gather information, communicate, and coordinate with members of the Resistance to defeat the Nazis in occupied Europe during World War II.

Between 1941 and 1944, British intelligence dropped sixteen thousand homing pigeons in an arc across Nazi-occupied Europe, from Bordeaux, France to Copenhagen, Denmark, as part of a spy operation code-named Columba. Returning to MI14, the secret government branch in charge of the "Special Pigeon Service," the birds carried messages that offered a glimpse of life under the Germans in rural France, Holland, and Belgium. Written on tiny pieces of rice paper tucked into canisters and tied to the birds’ legs, these messages were sometimes comic, often tragic, and occasionally invaluable—reporting details of German troop movements and fortifications, new Nazi weapons, radar systems, and even the deployment of the feared V-1 and V-2 rockets used to terrorize London.

The people who sent these messages were not trained spies. They were ordinary men and women willing to risk their lives in the name of freedom, including the "Leopold Vindictive" network—a small group of Belgian villagers led by an extraordinary priest named Joseph Raskin. The intelligence Raskin sent back by pigeon proved so valuable that it reached Churchill and MI6 parachuted agents behind enemy lines to assist him.

Gordon Corera uses declassified documents and extensive original research to tell the story of the Operation Columba and the Secret Pigeon Service for the first time. A powerful tale of wartime espionage, bitter rivalries, extraordinary courage, astonishing betrayal, harrowing tragedy, and a quirky, quarrelsome band of spy masters and their special mission, Operation Columba opens a fascinating new chapter in the annals of World War II. It is ultimately, the story of how, in one of the darkest and most dangerous times in history, under threat of death, people bravely chose to resist.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“Corera is to be congratulated for bringing to light, with humour and verve, a virtually unknown chapter of the war.” Daily Telegraph (London)
“Once you’ve read this book you’ll never look at a pigeon disdainfully again…Corera’s gripping book is an intoxicating mixture of comedy and high seriousness.” Daily Mail (UK)
“Witty and meticulously researched…Corera succeeds in bringing a virtually unknown chapter of the war to life and pays tribute to the ordinary people who risked their lives to resist the Nazis.” Publishers Weekly
“A remarkable tale about an aspect of World War II espionage that is probably little known to most readers…A well-researched, fascinating account of spying during World War II.” Library Journal
“The eccentric idea of enlisting pigeons as spies, combined with the bravery of those in occupied Europe who picked them up, vividly animates Corera’s excellent addition to the annals of WWII espionage.” Booklist
“In this lively story, the author focuses closely on a British operation called Operation Columba, which seeded mostly rural areas of occupied Western Europe with more than sixteen thousand homing pigeons…A capable, readable look at a little-known corner of history.” Kirkus Reviews

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Gordon Corera

Author Bio: Gordon Corera

Gordon Corera is a security correspondent for BBC News. He has presented major documentaries for the BBC on cybersecurity, including Crypto Wars and Under Attack: Espionage, Sabotage, Subversion, and Warfare in the Cyber Age. He is the author of The Art of Betrayal: Life and Death in the British Secret Service. In 2014 he was named Information Security Journalist of the Year at the BT Information Security and Journalism Awards. He lives in London.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Nonfiction/History
Runtime: 9.58
Audience: Adult
Language: English