VE Day, 8th of May, is a time to remember a hard won peace in Europe. A time to remember the many military and civilians who were killed and injured.
It is also a time to remember the many animals who were used in military and civilian service.
The animals’ Victoria Cross –the PDSA Dickin Medal – recognises outstanding acts of gallantry and devotion to duty displayed by animals serving with the Armed Forces or Civil Defence units in theatres of war.
Rip – The ‘World’s first Search and Rescue dog’
Rip, a crossbreed terrier, is often referred to as the ‘World’s first Search and Rescue dog’. He was found on the streets of London by a local Air Raid Warden in 1940.
He had a talent for sniffing out survivors trapped in the blitz rubble and despite never receiving formal training, in just twelve months he helped save the lives of more than 100 people.
Rip was awarded his PDSA Dickin Medal in 1945.
Duke of Normandy (Pigeon No. NURP 41. SBC 219)
Allied paratroopers from the 21st Army Group were dropped behind enemy lines days before D-Day. After their mission ran into numerous problems, the only way to get a message back was a pigeon named Duke of Normandy.
His journey home – through bullets and bombs – took almost 27 hours. But he delivered critical intelligence to the Allied Command – and saved many lives.
Duke of Normandy received his PDSA Dickin Medal on 8 January 1947.
Brian – a parachuting dog
A ‘qualified paratrooper’, Brian (also known as Bing) served with the 13th Battalion Airborne Regiment during WWII. As the D-Day landings began, Brian was parachuted into Normandy and fought side-by-side with his human allies. He also took part in the final airborne assault of the war.
Brian was presented with his PDSA Dickin Medal in March 1947.
To read the full stories of these amazing animal heroes and more download the free PDSA Dickin Medal e-books at: www.pdsa.org.uk/VE