Animals

Heroic Dog Who Comforted Captured WWII POW Soldiers Honoured

Peggy the Bull Terrier has been honoured by veterinary charity, PDSA, for her role during the Second World War.

A "loyal and courageous" dog who comforted Scottish soldiers captured during World War Two has been honoured by a veterinary charity.

Peggy, a Bull Terrier, became a mascot for 2nd Battalion Gordon Highlanders, after she was discovered as an abandoned puppy in Malaya (now part of Malaysia).

Following the British surrender to the Japanese in the Battle of Singapore in February 1942, Peggy and her comrades were taken as Prisoners of War (POWs) in Thailand.

Enduring three-and-a-half years of harsh conditions and hard physical labour in captivity, Peggy helped to boost the morale of troops.

She used her instincts to hunt for rats, which the soldiers were able to cook and add to their limited rations of rice.

Peggy has now posthumously been awarded the PDSA Commendation by the charity The People's Dispensary for Sick Animals.

Volunteer historian Stewart Mitchell with vet Fiona Gregge, and Bull Terrier Billy at Peggy's grave (Picture: PDSA).

“Peggy was a loyal and courageous ally to her Gordon Highlander comrades," said Stewart Mitchell, volunteer historian at the Gordon Highlanders Museum, who nominated Peggy for the award.

“When she saw a Gordon Highlander being attacked, she would fearlessly try to intervene, often at the cost of a blow with a split bamboo cane or worse, a stab from a guard’s bayonet. She bore the scars of these encounters for her entire life.

"Throughout the whole duration of their imprisonment, with the men in a seemingly hopeless situation, just struggling to survive another day with no end in sight, Peggy’s presence boosted their morale.”

Peggy and the troops were freed on Victory over Japan (VJ) Day, on 15 August 1945, and such was the bond between them, she was taken back to Scotland.

She lived at the Battalion's barracks in Aberdeen until her death in 1947.

Bull terrier Billy received the award on behalf of Peggy (Picture: PDSA).
Bull Terrier Billy received the award on behalf of Peggy (Picture: PDSA).

"The regiment demonstrated a continued recognition and gratitude to her with her grave, at the Bridge of Don Barracks, Aberdeen, being marked by a granite memorial," Mr Mitchell said.

“This was later relocated to a prominent position in the grounds of the new regimental HQ which is now the regimental museum and is a continuing symbol [for] the shared loyalty and affection between the soldiers and Peggy.”

The PDSA Commendation was presented by PDSA vet Fiona Gregge, with Bull Terrier, Billy, also attending the presentation to receive the award on Peggy’s behalf.

The PDSA Animal Awards Programme was instituted in 1943 by the charity’s founder, Maria Dickin.

Cover image: Peggy the Bull Terrier (Picture: PDSA).