Brian was awarded the PDSA Dickin Medal for service. During the D Day Landings, Brian and several other animals became 'paradogs' and were dropped into France under heavy enemy anti-aircraft fire. Amazingly, Brian survived and after the war he returned home to his owner where lived out his days quite happily before passing away of old age in 1955.
Judy, an English Pointer
This plucky hound became the only official canine Second World War prisoner of war (POW) after she was a mascot on board HMS Gnat and HMS Grasshopper. When Grasshopper sank, Judy tracked down a fresh-water spring on a desert island where she and the remaining survivors washed up but inevitably ended up in the POW Gloegoer camp in Sumatra, where she was repeatedly abused by her captors.
While she was in prison, she bonded with Leading Aircraft-man (LAC) Frank Williams, who had been captured in Singapore in 1942. Despite warnings from the war office about not making friends with service animals, Judy and Frank became inseparable. When the Japanese ordered the POWs back to Singapore, Judy was smuggled onto the cargo ship and, when torpedoes struck the boat, she swam around rescuing drowning prisoners, guiding them to floating debris. When the POWs were rounded up and returned to Sumatra, Frank became critically ill and later insisted that Judy, who sat loyally at his bedside, gave him the determination to survive.
When they were freed from the camp in 1945, both were nursed back to health and received bravery awards, with Frank taking care of Judy until she died in 1950.
Ricky, a Welsh collie
Ricky from Kent, received the Dickin Medal after he was sent to the Nethelands in 1944 to clear mines from railway tracks and canal paths. Working through thick snow and on frozen ground, Ricky brought nothing but joy to the soldiers with his plucky spirit, fierce energy and determination.
Sadly, on December 3, a mine exploded, killing the section commander and badly wounding Ricky. Despite the shock of the blast and sustaining serious injuries to his head, Ricky got straight back to work and found more mines before being taken away to have his wounds patched up.
To read more about these incredible WW2 dogs, you can buy Dogs of Courage by Clare Campbell and Christy Campbell, published by Corsair.
So what do you all think? Would you send your dogs to war or would you keep them safe and sound? Do you think they deserve more than a medal? Perhaps their own commemorative statue in The Mall? As ever I love to hear your thoughts.
Until next time,