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Pigeon Books from Silvio Mattacchione & Co.

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All material Copyright © 1996-2014 by Silvio Mattacchione & Co. unless otherwise noted.

Secret Camp-X Agents Saved by "Cleo" The Racing Pigeon!

by Silvio Mattacchione


STS 103 Camp XWhat was Camp-X ?

"Camp-X" was a Canadian top-secret training facility built on the beautiful shores of lake Ontario during the early years of the Second World War. Camp-X was established December 6, 1941, on the border of Whitby/Oshawa, the facility was conceived of by Sir Winston Churchill and implemented by his Canadian close confidant William Stephenson, Head of British Security Co-ordination (The Man Called Intrepid), to train the most advanced and skilled secret agents the world had ever known. Their task was to train men in the Darkest and Deadliest of Arts, release them behind enemy lines and facilitate the destruction of Fascism. Credited with having ended the war months before it would have, Camp-X gives Canadians good reason to be proud.

Who is Lynn Phillip Hodgson?

Lynn Hodgson is probably the worlds leading expert (has spent 30 years researching Camp-X) on the work of Camp-X, and the Hydra network, which collected, and distributed the intelligence, and code-breaking of Bletchley Park. He is the author of four best-selling books on Camp-X. Lynn Hodgson, as author of, "Inside Camp-X," was invited to go inside the CIA headquarters in Virginia to attend the 60th anniversary of the OSS; the only Canadian invited.

Who were some of the Agents trained at Camp-X?

Camp-X was initially opened for the purpose of training American COI (forerunner to the OSS) and OWI agents who would be dropped in behind enemy lines as spies and saboteurs at a time when the U.S. was forbidden by an act of Congress to be involved in W.W.II, the OSS stands for; Office of Strategic Services. It was formed by President Roosevelt on June 13th, 1942 and was headed by William (Wild Bill) Donovan. The OSS was the forerunner of today's CIA, (Central Intelligence Agency) and had its roots at Camp-X in Canada.

Many famous secret agents graduated from Camp-X, and it was there that Ian Fleming developed the character of James Bond during his training at the camp. The former Head of the CIA, Allen Dulles was trained at Camp-X.

The Book "Camp-X Silver Dagger"

Silver Dagger

While working as the Producer (together with my partner and series Designer, Peter Graziano) of the "Camp-X" series of books Silvio Mattacchione and the authors have become close friends. Many discussions took place wherein Silvio went into the history and wartime uses of the racing pigeon. While the book "Camp-X Silver Dagger" was under development the authors decided that the inclusion of details regarding the wartime use of these incredible racing pigeons would in fact add to the historical credibility of the faction (historically correct fiction) that was planned and soon to be written.

"Silver Dagger" was an immediate success and is available across Canada at any Chapters outlets as well as at in the USA and worldwide. The story is a great read and thanks to the efforts of Canadian racing pigeon fancier and specialty book publisher Silvio Mattacchione thousands of readers worldwide now have an extremely positive view of racing pigeons and their important current and historical significance. I invite all racing pigeons fanciers to purchase and read and enjoy this excellent historical thriller.

The book "Silver Dagger" makes many references to racing pigeons and I have excerpted some of the references made in chapter four, called "Shining Oath." I think that you will agree that this publicity is extremely positive and extremely welcome. Each and every fancier is a potential ambassador for our sport and you never know when, some comment, some remark, some word or explanation will impact greatly on our sport. By discussing my fascination for pigeons with both these authors they were fascinated enough to do further research and include pigeons as part of the superb book. As the positive aspects of pigeon keeping are made known in these positive ways all pigeon fanciers benefit. Each of us is an ambassador for our sport. What you say, how you say it, and your love of the birds can make a difference when you least expect it.

You must meet my mate, Silvio. Chapter 4 Shining Oath

"But can you jump from one of the blighters, Jacko? Hugh's a jumper, aren't you, boyo?"

"501st Airborne, Frank."

"Wizard! A pigeon fancier by any wild chance? Racers, homers, plugs?"

"As a matter of fact, Frank, my chum Billy and I did keep a loft of racing Belgians, in Georgia. I believe the correct term is dove, although pigeon is a collective, if inaccurate name of convenience."

"By God, Sir, you are knowledgeable. Belgians, the royalty of the avian world! Good, then, we're friends for life. You must meet my mate, Silvio Mattacchione. There's not a man drawing breath who knows as much about 'em: breeding, raising and racin'. He's just a bit of a stroll up the road in Puerto Perry. He supplies homers to Canadian and American Signals, plus BSO, SOE and heaven knows whom else -- all very hush-hush research. I'm the designated keeper here -- six beauties. Do you want to see them?"

"Sure, but where's Puerto Perry, Frank, Mexico?"

"Port Perry, Ontario, birthplace of D. D. Palmer, 1845, the founder of chiropractic, old lad. Keep talking and I'll show you an interesting new rig. You do know that I'm dying to be your wireless chappy, don't you, Jacko? Then again, likely not. When I got the drift that Hamish was up to something, I volunteered. The Doc, Phil, said he passed it on up the line and what ho! No bloody idea what it's about, but, if Hamish is into it, I'll wager my granny's old straw hat it's a bust up of rare ruddy proportions. Come on, you two!"

"Cleopatra, my Belgian homer queen": Chapter 4 Shining Oath

Just then, Major Briggs appeared at the top of the wooden stairway, waving a flashlight. "I say, chaps, you've forgotten something!" he shouted, holding out a small wooden cage in the other hand.

"Now what?" Hamish called back.

Frank Briggs approached, and smiled as he held out a little bamboo slat pen. "Cleopatra, my Belgian homer queen. Major Haney, I'd appreciate it awfully if you could take her along. You did tell me that you're an experienced handler. Cleo's a rookie bred by my mate, Silvio. It would serve as an important test of our training program. Just release her when the job's done. No fuss, no bother. Her grub and water are in those little aluminium sealed containers. And here's the strap that goes over your shoulder. The metal capsule on her left leg has a slip of paper inside. No need to write anything, but it's there if you need to. Please?"

Jack and Hamish peered inside at the beautiful silver grey and black creature. She peered back, her bright eyes flashing red and white as she blinked. "Well, Haney?" Hamish queried. "It's your choice."

"She's gorgeous, Jack. I'd take her, if I had the choice. You never know!" Rebeccah enthused.


"Oh, all right. Hand the cage here, Frank."

Frank beamed, "Thank you. Grazie mille -- Signor Silvio will be tickled. Come home to Papa, Cleo!"

Jack carried the small cage up the short stepladder, following Roy and turned to wave before hoisting himself and Cleo into the glass enclosed cabin. He caught a glimpse of Rebeccah as she walked up the wooden stairs. She paused on the top step and made the "V for Victory" sign. He returned her gesture with a "thumbs up," but she had vanished into the dusk. Clambering over the passenger seat, Jack set down Cleo amidst their equipment and leaned against the bulkhead in the cramped cargo area, then reached into the carrying pack, switched on his X-1 radio and put on the headset. A moment later he raised his right headphone. "Is this causing interference for your set, or your instruments Roy?" he shouted to be heard over the lusty growl of the nine-cylinder radial Bristol Mercury engine.

"Negative. Take-off in one minute, twenty...the leading edge of the disturbance..." he remarked, indicating with his gloved right hand the rain droplets glistening on the glass canopy. Are you sure you want to do this, Major Fox?"

"Hobson's choice. Are you, Roy?"

"Buckle up!" Roy directed grimly.

Hamish looked back. "Are you and Cleo secured, Major?"

Jack nodded affirmatively as Roy gunned the engine and slipped the brake lever. The Lysander lurched forward, its airframe straining momentarily at the sudden surge of power under full throttle, as it began rolling along the grass. Silently Jack counted off the seconds until it was airborne, Seven Mississippi, eight Mississippi, nine Miss... "Son of a gun! We're in the air, Cleo!"

"I've lost the hydraulics.": Chapter 4 Shining Oath

The nose of the Lizzie pitched down suddenly and violently. "What the hell's happening?" Hamish yelled.

"I've lost the hydraulics."

"Meaning?" Hamish demanded.

"Meaning the hydraulic assists for the tail section and the wings are screwed, Hamish!" Jack shouted into Hamish's ear. "And we've just lost power! The static discharge from the lightning bolt took out all the ignition. We're going down, unless he can get her nose up!"

BRACE YOURSELVES!: Chapter 4 Shining Oath

"Enough. Nah, I can handle it," he countered, as the aircraft yawed violently from port to starboard, buffeted by intense crosswinds.

"Well I sure as hell hope so. Take a good look out your window, buddy, cause that's a heap of prime Canadian mountain real estate coming at us! You've lost a hell of a lot of sky, Roy! Pull back on the stick for crissakes! Glide attitude, Roy! Hamish, help him yank the nose up and get ready. Brace yourselves! I'm sending another distress..."

The Lysander ploughed to a rest, tail upright, its four propeller blades, and most of the nose section buried firmly in the soggy blanket of a Canadian muskeg swamp.

Racing Pigeons Cooing: Chapter 4 Shining Oath

Jack drifted in and out of a state of unconsciousness, hearing strange voices and seeing eerie visions of soaring eagles and sacred fires. He awoke to the softly comforting sounds of his racing pigeons cooing in their backyard loft. He struggled to control his body's violent shivering. The ice water had seeped in through the shattered windscreen glass, filling his boots. With an effort, he managed to wrench himself to sit up. "Hamish? Roy?" "Hamish? Roy?" Both men were bent forward, facing downward, motionless. Jack tore off his gloves and reached forward, groping, trying to locate each man's throat, to feel for a pulse. His fingers were numb. He could feel nothing. The cooing grew louder. Then the realization dawned on him that it was Cleo. "Hello baby! Are you okay? Where are you?" His hands trembled, as he poked around blindly for the cage. It was floating right side up, the door open, the water and feed containers drifting in the brackish swamp water, but Cleo appeared to be unhurt. He scooped her into his hands and stroked her to calm her fluttering, then gently tucked her inside his Gebirgsjäger down-lined jacket. "Ssh, stay there, baby, stay there. We have to help Hamish and Roy. We have to help Hamish and Roy...have to help Hamish and Roy..."

ACE In The Whole: Chapter 4 Shining Oath

Hamish and Jack slogged and slid their way twenty-five miserable feet through the muck until they reached the bank, and lay down on their backs, exhausted. "Give me your compass. Is the radio working, man?"

"Negative, Hamish. Screwed, blued and tattooed. But I have an ace in the hole," he smiled, while reaching inside his soaking jacket to produce Cleopatra. Remember Rebeccah's last words, 'You never know?'"

"I'm sure you'd remember. Excellent! Is there paper in the capsule? I have a pencil. We're damn lucky."

"Go you beauty, go, go!": Chapter 4 Shining Oath

"The storm played ruddy havoc with the Lizzie's navigation instruments. We're just a south of Nelson. It's all jotted down here on the paper, with a note about Roy's condition. Take it."

"Okay. Hamish, that looks like a real bad sprain or it could be broken. I can splint it as soon as Cleo's bag is packed." Jack inserted the rolled scroll into the capsule and replaced the cap carefully, while Cleo raised her leg as if to assist him. "There we are. Okay, darlin', it's been one hell of a night. Sorry, I can't even offer you breakfast --now off you go straight to Frankie!" he whispered, stroking her head and then he gently wafted her upward from his outstretched hand. Without hesitation, she launched herself upward, spreading her wings, and was in her element, the air. She rose fifty feet into the cloudless, sunlit sky, circling once to get her bearings, and then took off, to the southeast.

"Magnificent!" Jack and Hamish stared up in awe as their little envoy swiftly disappeared behind a stand of Ponderosa Pines.

"Go you beauty, go, go!"Hamish shouted. "And God keep her safe from falcons and hawks!" he added under his breath, wiping his eyes with his sleeve.

"There is a Cherokee saying, U-le-nu e-me-nv e-qua a-wa-hi-li, amen; it translates, and the talons of the great eagle!"

Racing Pigeons Section Contents

Ashdon Farms

Background on Silvio Mattacchione, his pigeons, his loft, and inbreeding program.


A group of articles and editorials addressing various aspects of the sport of pigeon racing and the history of Silvio's line of Spanjaards/Janssens pigeons.

Pigeon Books

Buy fantastic pigeon books online! Selections include The Will to Prepare by Robert Kinney, Rotondo on Racing Pigeons by Joseph Rotondo, and The Pigeon Guide by Dr. Jon Esposito and Shannon Hiatt.

Pigeons For Sale

Some of Silvio Mattacchione's own winning stock is for sale.

Pigeon Consulting

Sivio Mattacchione offers a wide range of racing pigeon consulting services and consults with owners as far away as Australia, Mexico, Taiwan, The Philippines and the United States. Each consultation is tailored specifically to meet the client's needs, and is conducted in as thorough a manner as possible.

Charity Events

Good causes supported by Silvio and the racing pigeon and parrot communities.


Clever pigeon pictures constructed of keyboard strokes by artist Jerry Downs.

Pigeon Links

Links to other racing pigeon sites including those of clubs, products, and information resources. An easy way to navigate a series of pigeon web sites!

Contact Us

Silvio's e-mail, mail, phone, and fax contact information.

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