An item published by the BBC earlier this month reported on how a Surrey householder found the remains of a WWII carrier pigeon in his chimney which still had an armed forces message canister on its leg, believed to date from the Normandy landings.
Following its discovery, the coded message contained in the canister was passed to GCHQ for decryption. The problem is that Britain’s security boffins have failed to decipher the coded missal. The handwritten message was on an official pad and was probably based on a one time key, known only to the sender and recipient.
GCHQ’s historians are now appealing to the public in the hope that some of few surviving personnel from wartime communication centres may be able to assist by placing the message in context, allowing them to narrow down their research and hopefully solve the puzzle. Even with the phenomenal computing power available to GCHQ, without additional assistance, it is likely that the message will never be decoded.
It is ironic that in these days of embedded computers where we all have computing power at our fingertips, the author of a simple handwritten code may have taken their secret to the grave.