Reigate’s Wartime History inspires 2020 RB Writes Winner.

Reigate author Brenda Howlett-Nye and her memories of her Grandfather’s racing pigeons inspire the next generation.

Orla McNally, a pupil at Reigate Grammar School has won the 2020 Reigate and Banstead Writes competition. ‘A Reigate Pigeon’s War’ was unanimously praised by the judges and there is an absorbing local history aspect behind Orla’s winning tale…

Orla’s drew the inspiration for her story from the wartime memories of her neighbour, Brenda and of particular fascination to Orla was the stores about the Reigate pigeons during wartime.

 Brenda’s grandfather, Frederick Howlett, was the Chief Inspector of Reigate Police during WW2. In his spare time he kept racing pigeons. His beloved pigeons took on an important espionage role during the war. The fearless birds conveyed secret and urgent messages out of occupied Europe, all the way back to Reigate.

Brenda says:

“I am delighted that memories of my grandfather’s racing pigeons and their role in the war effort were a source of inspiration for Orla. My grandfather was responsible for delivering the returning pigeons and their coded messages , by bike to the South Eastern Command Headquarters under Reigate Hill.”

Well done to Orla. A Reigate Pigeon’s War is published on Friday 19th June across local and our partner websites.

Brenda’s book ‘Finding Me’ an account of her WWII childhood is available here.

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