One of Northern Ireland’s smallest World War II heroes has been honoured.

Paddy, a messenger pigeon who served with the RAF during the Normandy operations in June 1944, was remembered in his home town of Larne on Friday.

PDSA, Britain’s biggest veterinary charity, awarded Paddy the Dickin Medal, dubbed the animals’ “Victoria Cross”, 65 years ago this month.

He received it for being the first pigeon to reach England with a coded message from the battle-front beaches of D-Day.

The brave bird brought back vital information about the Allies’ progress, flying 230 miles in four hours 50 minutes – the fastest time of any of the messenger pigeons involved in the mission with an average speed of 56mph.

PDSA spokesman James Puxty said: “Paddy’s contribution to the D-Day operations was a credit to the thousands of messenger pigeons donated by the racing pigeon fraternity for service during World War II.

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