Charity, History, Latest News | Posted: Friday, May 8th, 2020 at 9:38 am | return to news

Read all about animal heroes honoured with the Dickin Medal

Animals helped to save countless lives during the Second World War, and to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day on Friday, vet charity PDSA is sharing exclusive e-books which tell the remarkable stories of animal heroes honoured with the Dickin Medal.

Search and rescue dog Rip
Search and rescue dog Rip
Brian-also-known-as-'Bing' Dickin Medal
Brian, also known as Bing

These include the story of messenger pigeon, Duke of Normandy, who flew for 27 hours through bullets and bombs to deliver vital, life-saving intelligence to Allied Forces.

Brian (also known as Bing) served with the 13th Battalion Airborne Regiment. As the D-Day landings began, Brian was parachuted into the Normandy and fought side-by-side with his human allies. He also took part in the final airborne assault of the war.

Rip, a crossbreed terrier, 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.

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The prestigious medal – known as the animals’ Victoria Cross – 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.

The medal, instituted by the charity’s founder, Maria Dickin, with the approval of the War Office and Imperial War Museum, was first awarded to a messenger pigeon named Winkie on 3 December 1943.

Mary Bawn, head of press, voice and brand at PDSA, said, “Throughout history, animals serving in the Armed Forces have made an extraordinary difference to the lives of so many, not only the men and women who serve, but also civilians who our military are protecting.”

To download the free PDSA Dickin Medal e-books visit: www.pdsa.org.uk/VE.

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