Paul the wayward pigeon to be reunited with its Redcar owner thanks to the Royal Navy (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Paul the wayward pigeon to be reunited with its Redcar owner thanks to the Royal Navy
12:15pm Friday 26th July 2013 in News
A RACING pigeon who got lost over the North Atlantic is due to be reunited with its owner this weekend.
Paul the pigeon, which is actually a female, will be taken back to its east Cleveland home after the Royal Navy tracked down its owner Gilbert Hartshorn.
The pigeon had a race ring around one leg and an identification number on the other which made it easier for the crew of HMS Somerset to trace her owner.
Now the 75-year-old, of Redcar, will meet up with ex-pigeon fancier Leading Seaman William Hughes when he goes on leave at the weekend.
The pigeon landed onboard last Friday and was offered much needed food and water by the crew which has taken it to their hearts.
After nursing the exhausted bird back to health the crew planned to release her to fly home as normal but Mr Hartshorn prefered the bird to be hand delivered by bird basket because the weather forecast was not promising for pigeon flight.
He said: "I would like to say thank you to the crew of HMS Somerset for looking after my distressed pigeon. Particularly the captain, who agreed to have a lost soul onboard until the ship returned alongside."
The bird, which is actually named Aurora-Tom after Mr Hartshorn's grandchildren, will now be retired and become his only pigeon pet.
He said: "I'd be too worried she would land on the next Royal Navy warship and I'd never see her again - the Navy have done such a good job of looking after her."
Petty officer Kristen Hughes was the first to spot the pigeon on the deck and leading seaman William Hughes managed to safely capture her.
He said: "It was a stroke of luck that Paul found Somerset. It is really good news we can reunite her with her owner. She will certainly have a few sea stories to tell her fellow pigeons.''
In the meantime the pigeon continues to build her strength, by eating breakfast cereal and resting in a makeshift coop alongside the Merlin helicopter in the ship's hangar.
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