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BNPS.co.uk (01202 558833).Pic: StewartWardrope/BNPS..***Please use full byline***..Pigeon release from a Catalina flying boat...Valuable bravery medals awarded to a flock of wartime homing pigeons have come to light to reveal the ingenious ways the British went about spying on the enemy...The birds were strapped in mini-parachutes and placed in small crates that were dropped behind enemy lines in order for the French Resistance to use...A corkscrew fan on the wooden crate unwound in the wind leading to the door to open.automatically in mid-air, allowing the pigeon to drop to the ground...The French attached coded messages about German military movements to the birds which flew across the English Channel with the precious intelligence...But one chilling note that has emerged after 70 years was written in German and informed the British the French recipient had been shot for spying having been found with a pigeon...Some 32 racing pigeons were awarded the prestigious Dickin Medal - the animal version of the Victoria Cross - for their acts of heroism in World War Two...The Royal Pigeon Racing Association owns five of them. Its general manager, Stewart Wardrope, took them along to the BBC's Antiques Roadshow to show them off...He also revealed the stories behind their award as well some of the other madcap inventions made by British boffins and used to gather intelligence using the birds...These included a clockwork camera strapped to the belly of a pigeon that automatically took reconaissance snaps of Nazi-occupied Europe before returning home...Of the five medals due to be featured on this Sunday's Antiques Roadshow, two were awarded to pigeons that delivered important intelligence from Europe six times between them...Another, named 'Beachcomber', brought back the first news of the disastrous landings at Dieppe in September 1942.