Updated: May 12, 2020
Today is VE day and as we honour the heroes that saved our country & Europe it is also good to honour the animals also involved in the war effort.
This story is about a dog called Brian.
He was an animal hero of the war.
We Thank all the people,horses, Dogs,pigeons & cats that served for our freedom.
There were 34 dogs, 32 pigeons, 4 horses & 1 cat that received the Dickin medal of honour. Brian is one of them.
A ‘qualified paratrooper’, Brian, also known as Bing, served with the 13th Battalion Airborne Regiment.
When war broke out, he was growing fast and eating far more than the Fetch family from Loughborough’s small ration could sustain, so they answered the country’s call and Brian joined up with the Army War Dog Training School.
Following his training, Brian was posted to the 13th Lancashire Parachute Battalion. Selected to take part in a two-week parachute training course with the ‘scout and sniper unit,’ he was one of only three dogs to successfully finish the course and jumped into action seven times.
As the D-Day landings began on 6 June 1944, Brian was parachuted into the Normandy town of Ranville. The jump didn’t go according to plan and Brian had to be cut down from a tree, under fire, by fellow paratrooper, Sergeant Ken Bailey. For the next few months, the two fought side by side as the Allies pushed on towards Berlin, and despite sustaining minor injuries, Brian continued to perform his sniffer dog and sentry duties with distinction.
The final airborne assault of the war, Operation Varsity, involved thousands of aircraft and 16,000 Allied paratroopers pushing to cross the Rhine into the German heartlands. It was Brian’s last jump. When the war was over, Brian remained on active duty in occupied Germany but was eventually reunited with the Fetch family back in the UK.
Presented with his PDSA Dickin Medal by Chief Air Marshall Sir Frederick Bowhill on 29 March 1947, Brian’s citation read: “For excellent patrol work and qualifying as a paratrooper, Airborne Division, Normandy, June 1944.” When he eventually died in 1955, he was buried alongside fellow PDSA Dickin Medal recipients at the PDSA Animal Cemetery in Ilford, Essex
This story along with others can be found on the PDSA website.
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