October, 1918: Trapped behind enemy lines in Charlevaux, France, and surrounded by hundreds of German troops, the few hundred surviving members of the Lost Battalion soon had another problem to deal with in the form of friendly fire. His men rapidly succumbing to the onslaught and with two birds already shot down, Major Charles Whittlesay dispatched a frantic message by way of their last surviving homing pigeon, ‘Cher Ami‘:
WE ARE ALONG THE ROAD PARALELL 276.4. OUR ARTILLERY IS DROPPING A BARRAGE DIRECTLY ON US. FOR HEAVENS SAKE STOP IT.
When the pigeon miraculously arrived at the division headquarters 25 miles away he had been shot in the leg, breast and eye, and thanks to his efforts 194 members of the battalion were subsequently rescued. Cher Ami died from his injuries six months later, but not before being awarded the croix de guerre for heroic service.
Below is the transcribed message from that day.
RECEIVED AT MESSAGE CENTER 4:22PM
TO C. O. 308th INFANTRY
FROM 1st BN 308th INFANTRY
WE ARE ALONG THE ROAD PARALELL 276.4. OUR AR ILLERY IS DROPPING A BARRAGE DIRECTLY ON US. FOR HEAVENS SAKE STOP IT.
BIRD RELEASED 3 P.M.
RECEIVED AT LOFT 4:05 PM.
G 3 BULLETIN BOARD
C OF S
152 FIELD ARTILLERY BRIGADE