Pigeon joins RAF Marham’s Dambusters on board HMS Queen Elizabeth
- Credit: PA
A pigeon christened Pauley has joined the Dambusters.
RAF Marham-based 617 Squadron is currently taking part in sea trials on board the Royal Navy’s flagship aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth.
Technicians who look after the squadron’s F-35 Lightning stealth fighters have been coping with a different set of wings in the shape of a stowaway racing pigeon.
The confused and exhausted bird, nicknamed Pauley aka Turbo P, was found nesting in the hangar of the 65,000-tonne warship which is currently carrying out flight trials with the F-35 jets off East Anglia.
The pigeon was discovered as the crew were stowing the warplanes after a day of tests.
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Air engineering technician Alexander Thomason said: “I was just putting the lashings on the jet when I looked up and saw this pigeon nestled behind the hangar gantry.”
“It appeared pretty pleased to be there, if I’m honest. We’ve named her Pauley.”
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The sailors managed to catch the bird and are now looking for a safe place for it to live on board.
Lieut Cdr Jerome Pethrick, in charge of aircraft maintenance, said: “I know the hangar team would love to let the pigeon fly around all day but sadly for them it’s just not safe. We have to find somewhere without jet engines.”
HMS Queen Elizabeth is expected to return to its Portsmouth base at the end of June on completion of the flight trials which are preparing it for its first carrier strike group deployment next year.