Hero animals - PDSA Dickin Medal

From Simon The Cat to Princess The Pigeon - Who Are The Animal War Heroes?

Hero animals - PDSA Dickin Medal

The PDSA Dickin Medal is the highest award any animal can receive whilst serving in military conflict, and is known as the animal’s equivalent of the Victoria Cross.

The medal acknowledges outstanding acts of bravery or devotion to duty displayed by animals serving with the Armed Forces or Civil Defence units throughout the world.

So who are the animal members of the British forces who have received the medal since it was first instituted in 1943?

Treo The Labrador

Royal Army Veterinary Corps

Date of Award: 24 February 2010

On 15 August 2008, while acting as forward protection for 8 Platoon, The Royal Irish Regiment, Treo located a ‘daisy chain’ IED.

This is an improvised explosive device designed to trigger a series of bombs. The bombs were located on a roadside where soldiers were about to pass.

If the soldiers had passed through, the Army confirmed that there would have been considerable casualties.

Without a doubt, Treo’s actions and devotion to his duties, while in the throes of conflict, saved many lives.

WW2 Carrier Pigeon
Picture: PA

Princess The Pigeon

Royal Air Force

Date of Award: May 1946

Princess was a carrier pigeon who served in the World War Two. Sent on a special mission to Crete, she returned to her loft at RAF Alexandria having traveled about 500 miles mostly overseas.

She was carrying vital information, which she delivered safely in one of the finest performances in the war record of the Pigeon Service.

WW2 Carrier Pigeon
Picture: PA

Simon The Cat

Royal Navy

Date of Award: awarded posthumously 1949

Simon the cat was a true World War Two hero. Smuggled aboard the frigate HMS Amethyst by 17-year-old seaman George Hickinbottom, he quickly became a member of the crew.

He was then tragically injured during the Yangtze Incident, but nevertheless carried on his duties disposing of rats when the ship became overrun with them, as well as restoring the moral of the crew.

Sadly, Simon passed away whilst quarantined back in the UK, after contracting a viral infection as a result of his war wounds.

WW2 Carrier Pigeon
Picture: PA

Warrior The Horse

Canadian Corps Cavalry

Date of Award: awarded posthumously on 2 September 2014

Warrior and General Jack Seely commanded three regiments of the Canadian Cavalry, and together the pair led the charge at some of the bloodiest and most infamous battles of WWI.

Such was Warrior's bravery that he was dubbed "the horse the Germans couldn't kill".

Warrior was subjected to machine gun attacks by air, survived falling shells at the Battle of the Somme, was buried under debris and got stuck in mud at Passchendaele, and was trapped under the burning beams of his stables not once, but twice.

Against all the odds, Warrior survived and was posthumously awarded the PDSA Dickin Medal on behalf of all animals that served in the Great War.

More: Retired 'Hero' Army Dogs Saved From Being Put Down

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