The Dickin’s Medal – For Animal Bravery
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As a great fan of animals of all kind I thought it would be interesting to write about the ‘Dickens Medal’ which is awarded in recognition for acts of animal bravery or exceptional devotion to duty. The PDSA Dickin Medal - known internationally as the animals’ Victoria Cross – has been awarded for military bravery for over 60 years.
As with the Victoria Cross the medal is made of bronze bearing the words ‘For Gallantry’.
The founder of the PDS was a lady called Maria Dickin CBE who was inspired by the bravery of animals during wartime and their devotion to people. She decided to create The Dickin Medal which was first awarded in 1943 and to date has been awarded to nearly 70 brave and devoted animals.
The first three medals for bravery were given to 3 Pigeons called: ‘Winkie’, ‘White Vision’ and Tyke’ (Also known as George) on 2nd December 1943. They were each awarded the Dickin medal for delivering a message under exceptionally difficult conditions and so contributing to the rescue of an Air Crew, while serving with the RAF.
Alas, there has only been one Dickin Medal awarded to a cat that was called ‘Simon’. In 1949, on board HMS Amethyst during the Yangtze incident, in China, a shell blast injured Simon the cat and though wounded he continued catching rats. He died of his wounds and was posthumously awarded a Dickin’s medal.
The first Dog to be awarded a Dickin Medal was called ‘Bob’ and was a Mongrel. He was awarded the Dickin Medal 24th March 1944 and his citation read “For constant devotion to duty with special mention of Patrol work at Green Hill, North Africa, while serving with the 6th Battalion Queens Own Royal West Kent Regt.”
There has only been 3 Horses awarded a Dickin Medal and they were all Police horses. They were each awarded the Dickin Medal on the 11th. April 1947 and were called: ‘Upstart’, ‘Olga’ and ‘Regal’. ‘Olga’ and ‘Upstart’ both survived explosion’s caused by Flying bombs and once they were rescued they returned to duty patrolling their beat.