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Thread: The cats and dogs of war get their own VCs at special awards ceremony

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    Elite Member Honey's Avatar
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    Default The cats and dogs of war get their own VCs at special awards ceremony

    The original search and rescue dog: Beauty the wire-haired terrier



    They have often been the unsung heroes of war.


    But yesterday the animals which have put their lives on the line for the sake of thousands of servicemen and women, as well as civilians, were given official recognition.


    In a unique ceremony, military honours were given to the 62 animals which have received the PDSA Dickin Medal - the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross.




    The medal, which carries the words "For Gallantry" and "We also serve" beneath a laurel wreath, was first awarded at the height of the Second World War.



    Recipients - including pigeons, dogs, horses and one cat - have played a part in just about every conflict involving British troops in locations as far apart as Burma, Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as in the UK.



    Yesterday's ceremony, hosted by actress Jenny Seagrove, took place at Ilford Animal Cemetery in Essex.

    Wreaths were laid, a bugler played the Last Post and there was even a fly-past - by pigeons.

    Also present were two dogs awarded the PDSA gold medal, which goes to heroic animals that serve outside of military conflict.


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    Olga, Regal and Upstart: The police horses which brought normality to war-torn London




    Cocker spaniel Jake was sent into the wreckage of the Tavistock Square bus after the July 7 bombings in 2005 to ensure there were no more bombs inside.

    And labrador Endal was honoured for saving the life of his owner Allen Parton in 2001. Mr Parton, who uses a wheelchair, was knocked unconscious in a car park.


    Endal moved him into the recovery position and covered him with a blanket from his wheelchair, refusing to leave his side until he had regained consciousness.

    Here the Daily Mail profiles some of the animals awared the Dickin Medal.

    BEAUTY THE WIRE-HAIRED TERRIER





    During the Second World War the wire-haired terrier became the original search and rescue dog.


    She was owned by Bill Barnett, a member of the PDSA animal rescue unit during the Blitz.


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    Cats and dogs: Rat-catcher Simon (left) and bomb detector Sadie




    Mr Barnett was on a squad dedicated to looking for animals trapped in the rubble after bomb blasts and Beauty was his companion, providing good company.

    Then one day in 1940 Beauty suddenly started to scrabble in the rubble too and minutes later the team uncovered a cat buried beneath a table.

    From that day on Beauty was a working member of the team, going on to save 63 animals from being buried alive.

    She received the Dickin medal in January 1945.

    Six other dogs went on to the receive the medal too, having followed in Beauty's pawsteps.

    Now search and rescue dogs are used around the globe.
    OLGA, REGAL AND UPSTART THE HORSES






    For a time during the Second World War police horses in London were evacuated for safety reasons.

    When they returned they came to symbolise a sense of normality and went about their duties despite explosions and fire all around.


    Three police horses were chosen to receive the Dickin Medal on April 11, 1947. Bay mare Olga had been on patrol in Tooting, South London, when a bomb exploded, destroying a row of houses and sending debris flying.

    Yet even when a sheet of glass crashed at her feet, the horse stayed on duty, helping in the rescue operation.

    Regal similarly remained calm when an incendiary bomb exploded near his stable, and three years later when a second bomb landed so close that part of his stable was damaged.


    Upstart was showered with debris when a flying bomb exploded while the horse was on patrol in Bethnal Green.


    The animal recovered its composure to help direct emergency services to the scene.

    SIMON THE SHIP'S CAT



    Simon used his ratcatching skills to protect his crew's precious food supply during a terrifying siege.

    Born on Stonecutters Island, Hong Kong, the black and white cat was presented to the Captain of the frigate HMS Amethyst in 1948.

    Scroll down for more ...






    A year later the ship was making its way up the Yangtse River to Nanking when it came under attack.


    Badly hit, several crew members, including the captain were killed and others injured.

    But somehow, perhaps using a few of his nine lives, Simon emerged a couple of days later from the debris of the captain's cabin, licking his wounds and with his whiskers a little singed.

    Taken into care by the crew, he returned to full health and soon became a valuable protector of the ship's food supply, which was dwindling rapidly as the crew sat captive for 100 days.

    He was a champion ratter and also a favourite among the young crew members - many of whom thought they would never see home again.


    Because of his animal heroics Simon was taken back to Britain, unlike most animals who were left overseas because of quarantine restrictions.


    But he died in quarantine.

    His gravestone reads: "Throughout the Yangtse incident his behaviour was of the highest order."


    SADIE THE LABRADOR





    Two suicide bombers had already unleashed their deadly blasts when Sadie was called into action in Afghanistan on November 14,


    Working with Lance Corporal Karen Yardley, the nine-year-old explosives search dog saved the lives of dozens of servicemen and women within the United Nations compound in Kabul.

    The dog, part of the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, sniffed out a bomb concealed behind a wall, inside a seemingly innocent metal pressure cooker.

    Alerted by the dog's sudden change in behaviour, Lance Corporal Yardley was able to call for assistance and the bomb was made safe.

    The pressure cooker, filled with TNT, would have had the impact of a massive grenade when it was detonated by remote control.

    The dog, which has served in Iraq, Bosnia and Kosovo, had uncovered an array of weapons in the past, but had never detected a bomb.
    She was awarded her medal on February 6 this year.

    The cats and dogs of war get their own VCs at special awards ceremony | the Daily Mail

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    Hit By Ban Bus! pacific breeze's Avatar
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    I love these kinds of stories. They always make me tear up a little.

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    Elite Member crumpet's Avatar
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    Thanks for making my mascara run!

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    Elite Member VenusInFauxFurs's Avatar
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    *sniff*
    When your daughter plays "House," she pretends to be an annoying doctor with a pill-addiction and a limp.

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    Elite Member celeb_2006's Avatar
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    I love these stories too.

    Something similar:

    [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhO5F7hiFCI[/youtube]

    Vietnam pictures of K9 men.The dogs, mostly German shepherds, had one of the most dangerous jobs in combat _ ranging ahead of a patrol deep into enemy territory, usually at night. Some dogs served as many as five combat tours. They were so effective that the Vietcong offered a $20,000 bounty for their capture _ twice as much as the reward paid for a GI, according to war-dog histories. An estimated 500 dogs died in combat in Vietnam. Others succumbed to illness, parasites or the tropical heat. Barely 200 were brought home to the United States only of the over 4000 dogs used.

    More than 4,000 dogs recruited to serve and protect U.S. troops in Vietnam, preventing 10,000-plus American casualties in the process. Yet, only a few of these dogs returned to America at the close of the war. Since these canine heroes were classified by the military as equipment, they were declared "surplus armaments" and either unceremoniously euthanised or left to unknown fates in Vietnam.

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    Super Moderator Tati's Avatar
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    What makes me really tear up is the way their humans talk about them and honour them like they're people. "For Gallantry", "His behaviour was of the highest order"... aww. Good on you, little heroes. *sniff*
    If you reveal your secrets to the wind you should not blame the wind for revealing them to the trees.

    - Kahlil Gibran

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    Hit By Ban Bus! pacific breeze's Avatar
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    Love how the American dogs in Vietnam were just dumped or killed -- why doesn't this surprise me?

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    Elite Member VenusInFauxFurs's Avatar
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    ^^ No surprise at all.
    When your daughter plays "House," she pretends to be an annoying doctor with a pill-addiction and a limp.

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