English early 20th century portrait of prize winning pigeon by A. Embleton, 1914, gouache on paper, with the legend “Mr Gerald Lockett’s winner of 1st & Special Weymouth, Wavertree H.S. 1913” The largely working man’s sport of pigeon racing was more or less suspended around the time this portrait was completed (The First World War would break out in less than a year) for fear that pigeons might be used by enemy spies to communicate. At the same time, many homing pigeons were pressed into service (you cannot really say they enlisted) and used to convey messages from the front to headquarters. They are credited with saving thousands of lives through their war efforts.

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