Osman helped make officials aware of the valuable role pigeons could play in wartime communications, and became head of the Home Office Pigeon Service. The birds were vital to the army and navy – for example, they were used to communicate between Royal Navy ships that didn’t have wireless telegraph systems.
Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig mentioned the Carrier-Pigeon Service in his despatch from France and Flanders of 25 December 1917:
“The Carrier Pigeon Service has also been greatly developed during the present year, and has proved extremely valuable for conveying information from attacking units to the headquarters of their formations.”
“Quite 100,000 pigeons passed through my hands for active service” & that “Towards the end of the war 150 British mobile lofts, with complete equipment, wee on active service on the French & Italian fronts. This will give some little idea of the extent & usefulness of the service…” Lt.-Col. A.H.Osman