Mr Jardy said that several pigeons were usually sent with the same message to ensure the letter reached its recipient. If so, he added, the capsule likely slipped off the bird’s leg in flight.

The Linge Museum, about eight miles west of Ingersheim, recalls the story of one of the deadliest battles of World War I, fought in 1915 on a hill called Linge in the Vosges Mountains. About 17,000 soldiers died when German troops tried to stop the advance of the French army towards the nearby city of Colmar.

With the help of a German friend, Mr Jardy said he had managed to decipher the handwriting and translate the message from an older form of German into modern French. Since the message relates to military exercises, it appears to have less historical value than records of real war conflicts, he noted.

With so many World War II battlefields scattered across France, remnants and relics of the conflicts are often discovered, including physical landmarks like trenches and bunkers, and more personal items like clothing or ammunition.

In Maltot, northern France, a team of archaeologists are digging and cataloging the physical remains of the Battle of Normandy from World War II to fragments and tatters of a dead soldier’s shoe.

Still, over a century after it was written, the age and excellent condition of the capsule stood out near Ingersheim, Mr. Jardy said. Although his museum is closed for the winter, Mr Jardy said he plans to continue studying the embassy and include it on the monument’s exhibits.

Alsace in eastern France was annexed to Germany in 1871 after the end of the Franco-Prussian War. The region was ceded to France after the First World War under the Treaty of Versailles. During the Second World War, the forces of National Socialist Germany occupied the area.

Aurelien Breeden reported from Paris and Isabella Kwai from London.

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