20 SEPTEMBER 1940, Page 10

An Ominous Dove

We were watching the grim wonder of the searchlights, the wicked sparking of shells and an occasional flare, when a pure white pigeon appeared from nowhere and perched within reach of our hands. What omens the Romans would have drawn from it ; and indeed it carried the sense of an omen. I thought of the V.C. Carrier Pigeon in the last war. It flew back to its cot; the top of a London bus so transformed, where as soon as its message was delivered it died of a shrapnel wound. I wonder whether the pigeon fanciers and racers have noted any effect on their birds from the paraphernalia of war?