"Stumpy" John Silver – Dayton, Ohio - Atlas Obscura

"Stumpy" John Silver

National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

This stuffed pigeon of war had the very serious name "John Silver" until he lost a leg in battle. 


An unlikely war hero’s stuffed body is on display at the National Museum of the US Air Force in Dayton.

John Silver was a homing pigeon who served in World War I. While delivering a message under heavy fire during the Meuse-Argonne drive, he was hit by a nearby exploding shell. The bird lost his right leg and was heavily injured by shrapnel, but regained his flight and managed to deliver the message successfully. 

After his courageous feat, John Silver was nursed back to health and became a war hero and mascot. He finally died of natural causes in 1935 at the ripe old age of 18 years.

The pigeon, having earned the nickname “Stumpy” and the admiration of soldiers and civilians around the nation, was taxidermied and is now on display in a glass case at the US Air Force museum at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

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