|PDSA Dickin Medal|
The PDSA Dickin Medal (obverse)
|Awarded for||Conspicuous gallantry or devotion to duty while serving in military conflict.|
|Presented by||People's Dispensary for Sick Animals|
|Official website||PDSA Dickin Medal|
Dickin Medal service ribbon
The PDSA Dickin Medal was instituted in 1943 in the United Kingdom by Maria Dickin to honour the work of animals in war. It is a bronze medallion, bearing the words "For Gallantry" and "We Also Serve" within a laurel wreath, carried on a ribbon of striped green, dark brown and pale blue. It is awarded to animals that have displayed "conspicuous gallantry or devotion to duty while serving or associated with any branch of the Armed Forces or Civil Defence Units". The award is commonly referred to as "the animals' Victoria Cross".
Maria Dickin was the founder of the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA), a British veterinary charity. She established the award for any animal displaying conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty whilst serving with British Empire armed forces or civil emergency services. The medal was awarded 54 times between 1943 and 1949 – to 32 pigeons, 18 dogs, three horses, and one cat – to acknowledge actions of gallantry or devotion during the Second World War, and subsequent conflicts.
The awarding of the medal was revived in 2000 to honour Gander, a Newfoundland dog who saved infantrymen during the Battle of Lye Mun. In early 2002, the medal was given in honour of three dogs for their role responding to the September 11 attacks; it was also awarded to two dogs serving with Commonwealth forces in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Iraq. In December 2007, 12 former recipients buried at the PDSA Animal Cemetery in Ilford, Essex, were afforded full military honours at the conclusion of a National Lottery-aided project to restore the cemetery.
The first recipients of the award, in December 1943, were three pigeons, serving with the Royal Air Force, all of whom contributed to the recovery of air crew from ditched aircraft during the Second World War. The most recent animal to be honoured is Warrior, a warhorse who served in the First World War. As of September 2014, the Dickin Medal has been awarded 66 times.
|Recipient(s)||Animal||Date of award||Notes||Ref(s)|
|White Vision||Pigeon||2 December 1943||Delivered a message that contributed to the rescue of a ditched aircrew in October 1943||
|Winkie||Pigeon||2 December 1943||Delivered a message that contributed to the rescue of a ditched aircrew in February 1942||
|Tyke||Pigeon||2 December 1943||Delivered a message that contributed to the rescue of a ditched aircrew in June 1943|||
|Bob||Dog||24 March 1944||A mongrel, worked on patrol at Green Hill, North Africa; served with the 6th Battalion Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment|||
|Beach Comber||Pigeon||1 September 1944||Brought the first news of the landings at Dieppe in 1942; served with the Canadian Army|||
|Gustav||Pigeon||1 September 1944||Brought the first message from the Normandy beaches on 6 June 1944|||
|Paddy||Pigeon||1 September 1944||Held best recorded time with a message from the Normandy Operations in June 1944||
|Rip||Dog||1945||A mongrel, located many victims of the air-raids of The Blitz|||
|Jet||Dog||12 January 1945||An Alsatian,[B] assisted in the rescue of persons trapped under blitzed buildings; served with the Civil Defence Service||
|Irma||Dog||12 January 1945||An Alsatian,[B] assisted in the rescue of persons trapped under blitzed buildings; served with the Civil Defence Service||
|Beauty||Dog||12 January 1945||A Wirehaired Terrier, assisted in the location of buried air-raid victims; served with a PDSA Rescue Squad|||
|Rob||Dog||22 January 1945||A Collie, made over 20 parachute descents during the North African Campaign; served with the Special Air Service (SAS)[A]||
|Kenley Lass||Pigeon||March 1945||First pigeon to deliver intelligence from an agent in enemy-occupied France in October 1940; served with the National Pigeon Service|||
|Navy Blue||Pigeon||March 1945||Although injured, delivered a message from a raiding party in France, June 1944|||
|Flying Dutchman||Pigeon||March 1945||Delivered three messages from agents in the Netherlands; missing in action on the fourth mission in 1944|||
|Dutch Coast||Pigeon||March 1945||Delivered an SOS message from a ditched aircrew 288 miles in 7.5 hours in April 1942|||
|Commando||Pigeon||March 1945||Delivered three messages from agents in occupied France; served with the National Pigeon Service|||
|Royal Blue||Pigeon||March 1945||First pigeon of the war to deliver a message from a forced landed aircraft on the Continent in October 1940|||
|Thorn||Dog||2 March 1945||An Alsatian,[B] located air-raid casualties in a burning building; served with the Civil Defence Service|||
|Rifleman Khan||Dog||27 March 1945||An Alsatian,[B] rescued a soldier from drowning while under heavy shell fire during the assault of Walcheren in November 1944; served with the 6th Battalion Cameronians|||
|Rex||Dog||April 1945||An Alsatian,[B] located casualties in burning buildings; served with the Civil Defence Service|||
|Ruhr Express||Pigeon||May 1945||Carried an important message from the Ruhr Pocket in April 1945|||
|William of Orange||Pigeon||May 1945||Held the record time for delivering a message from the Arnhem Airborne Operation; served with the National Pigeon Service (Army)|||
|Scotch Lass||Pigeon||June 1945||Brought 38 microphotographs across the North Sea from the Netherlands, despite injury, in September 1944|||
|Sheila||Dog||2 July 1945||A Collie, assisted in the rescue of four American airmen lost on the Cheviot Hills in a blizzard after a crash in December 1944|||
|Billy||Pigeon||August 1945||Delivered a message from a bomber which had been force-landed in 1942|||
|Broad Arrow||Pigeon||October 1945||Brought three important messages from the Continent in 1943; served with the National Pigeon Service (Special Section)|||
|NPS.42.NS.2780||Pigeon||October 1945||Brought three important messages from the Continent in 1942 and 1943; served with the National Pigeon Service (Special Section)|||
|NPS.42.NS.7524||Pigeon||October 1945||Brought three important messages from the Continent in 1942 and 1943; served with the National Pigeon Service (Special Section)|||
|Maquis||Pigeon||October 1945||Brought three important messages from the Continent from 1943 and 1944; served with the National Pigeon Service (Special Section)|||
|Mary of Exeter||Pigeon||November 1945||Showed outstanding endurance on war service despite injury||
|Peter||Dog||November 1945||A Collie, located people trapped under blitzed buildings; served with the Civil Defence Service||
|Tommy||Pigeon||February 1946||Delivered a message from the Netherlands to Lancashire in July 1942; served with the National Pigeon Service|||
|All Alone||Pigeon||February 1946||Delivered an important message following a flight of over 400 miles in one day in August 1943; served with the National Pigeon Service|||
|Judy||Dog||May 1946||A pedigree Pointer, helped keep morale high among fellow prisoners in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp|||
|Princess||Pigeon||May 1946||Completed a special mission to Crete, a journey of more than 500 miles over sea, with valuable information|||
|Mercury||Pigeon||August 1946||Carried out a special task involving a 480-mile flight from Northern Denmark in 1942; served with the National Pigeon Service (Special Section)|||
|NURP.38.BPC.6||Pigeon||August 1946||Made three flights in 1941; served with the National Pigeon Service (Special Section)|||
|G.I. Joe||Pigeon||August 1946||Flew 20 miles in as many minutes, delivering a message which is credited with saving over 100 lives; served with the United States Army Pigeon Service|||
|Punch and Judy||Dogs||November 1946||Boxers, saved two British officers in Palestine by attacking a nationalist|||
|Cologne||Pigeon||1947||Homed from a crashed aircraft over Cologne despite injury in 1943|||
|Duke of Normandy||Pigeon||8 January 1947||First bird to arrive with message from Paratroops of 21st Army Group on D Day (6 June 1944); served with the National Pigeon Service|||
|NURP.43.CC.1418||Pigeon||8 January 1947||Fastest flight carrying a message from the 6th Airborne Division from Normandy, 7 June 1944; served with the National Pigeon Service|||
|DD.43.T.139||Pigeon||February 1947||Brought message of foundered ship in the Huon Gulf in time to salvage it and its cargo; served with the Royal Australian Corps of Signals|||
|DD.43.Q.879||Pigeon||February 1947||Only survivor of three pigeons released to warn of an impending counter-attack at Manus Island. Reached headquarters in time to extract a US Marine Corps patrol; served with the Royal Australian Corps of Signals|||
|Ricky||Dog||29 March 1947||A Welsh Collie, located mines along a canal bank at Nederweert in the Netherlands, despite being injured by one|||
|Bing (Brian)||Dog||29 March 1947||An Alsatian,[B] parachuted into Normandy with 13th Battalion, 6th Airborne Division.||
|Olga||Horse||11 April 1947||Controlled traffic and assisted rescue operations following a flying bomb explosion in Tooting; served with the police||
|Upstart||Horse||11 April 1947||Controlled traffic following a flying bomb exploding in Bethnal Green; served with the police||
|Regal||Horse||11 April 1947||Remained calm despite being subject to stable fires in Muswell Hill caused by explosive incendiaries on two separate occasions||
|Simon||Cat||1949||HMS Amethyst's ship's cat, awarded for the disposal of many rats despite injury|||
|Antis||Dog||28 January 1949||An Alsatian,[B] served with a Czech airman in the French Air Force in North Africa, and helped his master escape after the death of Jan Masaryk|||
|Tich||Dog||1 July 1949||A mongrel, awarded for courage and devotion between 1941–45; served with the 1st Battalion King's Royal Rifle Corps|||
|Gander||Dog||27 October 2000||A Newfoundland, saved Canadian infantrymen on at least three separate occasions during the Battle of Lye Mun on Hong Kong Island in December 1941; killed in action gathering a grenade|||
|Appollo||Dog||5 March 2002||An Alsatian,[B] received the award on behalf of all search-and-rescue dogs who assisted in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks in 2001|||
|Salty and Roselle||Dogs||5 March 2002||Labrador guide dogs, led their blind owners down more than 70 flights of stairs to escape from the damaged World Trade Center in September 2001|||
|Sam||Dog||14 January 2003||An Alsatian,[B] brought down an armed man and held back rioters while serving in Bosnia and Herzegovina in April 1998; served with The Royal Canadian Regiment on assignment from the Royal Army Veterinary Corps|||
|Buster||Dog||9 December 2003||A Springer Spaniel, located a weapons arsenal in Safwan, Southern Iraq in March 2003; served with the Duke of Wellington's Regiment||
|Lucky||Dog||6 February 2007||An Alsatian,[B] the only member of a four-dog team to survive tracking nationalists in Malaya from 1949 to 1952; served with the Royal Air Force Police|||
|Sadie||Dog||6 February 2007||A Labrador, detected explosive devices, which were subsequently disarmed, while serving in Kabul, Afghanistan, in November 2005; served with the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment|||
|Treo||Dog||24 February 2010||A Labrador-Spaniel crossbreed, located improvised explosive devices while serving in Helmand Province, Afghanistan in August and September 2008; served with Royal Army Veterinary Corps|||
|Theo||Dog||25 October 2012||A Springer Spaniel, who located improvised explosive devices while serving in Afghanistan, holds the record for most operational finds by an arms and explosives search dog with 14. Died from an apparent seizure after his handler was killed by enemy fire earlier that day.|||
|Sasha||Dog||29 April 2014||A Labrador who located 15 improvised explosive devices, mortars, mines and weapons while serving in Afghanistan, with the Royal Army Veterinary Corps. In July 2008 Sasha and her handler were killed in a Taliban ambush by a rocket-propelled grenade.|||
|Warrior||Horse||2 September 2014||Honorary award to a First World War warhorse to commemorate the contributions of all animals during the conflict.|||
- A ^ Rob was awarded the Dickin Medal in 1945 for taking part in more than 20 parachute drops and for his involvement in operations behind enemy lines in Italy and North Africa during the Second World War. There is evidence that his record is a hoax concocted by the training officer at 2nd SAS at the time so that the dog would remain with the regiment.
- B ^ The German Shepherd Dog breed was renamed in the UK by The Kennel Club in 1919 to Alsatian Wolf Dog. During the 1920s, the Wolf Dog part of the name fell out of use and dogs of this breed were simply known as Alsatians. The name had been reverted in most countries by 1977 to German Shepherd Dog.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Dickin Medal.|
- "World Wars I and II". American Racing Pigeon Union. Retrieved 4 March 2010.
- "War of the Birds (2005)". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 4 March 2010. A documentary about pigeons involved in the Second World War, many of whom won the Dickin Medal
- "In pictures: Heroic dogs". BBC News. 17 May 2010. Retrieved 7 September 2010. Images of Beauty, Rip, Jet, Rex and Irma