The Dickin Medal is the highest honor that an animal can receive while serving in a military conflict. It is known as the Victoria Cross of the animals. It was established in 1943 by the PDSA’s founder, Maria Dickin CBE, to recognize outstanding acts of bravery or devotion to duty displayed by animals serving with the Armed Forces or Civil Defense units in any theater of war worldwide. But do you know the story of Rip the rescue dog?
In WW2, a stray dog named Rip was adopted by an Air Raid Patrol. Despite not being trained in rescue work, he found over 100 victims trapped beneath buildings. He received the Dickin medal for his efforts, which are credited with inspiring the training of search and rescue dogs.
Rip the Dog, Rip the Hero, Rip The Medal Holder
Air Raid Warden Mr. E. King discovered Rip as a stray after a heavy bombing raid on Poplar, London, in 1940. Mr. King threw scraps at him. Mr. King worked at Poplar’s Post B132, where Rip became the mascot of the Southill Street Air Raid Patrol.
How welcome to the victims must have been the first sounds of those scrabbling paws, shrill terrier yaps, and the first sight of the grinning Tommy Brock face with its merry friendly eyes.Jily Cooper, Author of Animals in War
He began as an unofficial rescue dog, sniffing out casualties trapped beneath buildings and eventually became the service’s first search and rescue dog.
Rip had never been trained in search and rescue, but he took to it instinctively. In the twelve months between 1940 and 1941, he discovered over a hundred air raid victims in London.
Rip the rescue dog, who searched for people buried in the rubble after bombing raids during the Blitz, is just one of the characters in the new collection, which aims to honor everyone from unsung underdogs to wartime heroes.
To commemorate the launch of its campaign, they are releasing four new sets of records to help people learn more about their family heroes: Victoria Cross (VC) Recipients 1854-2006, Royal Navy 1914 Star Medal Roll 1914-1920, British Royal Marines Marriage Registers 1813-1920, and Falklands War British Deaths 1982.
The VC collection includes 1,349 people who received the highest military honor for valor, awarded to heroes from conflicts such as the Crimean War, the Boer War, and both world wars. (Source: Scotsman)
What is a Dickin Medal?
The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) Dickin Medal is a large bronze medallion with the words “For Gallantry” and “We Also Serve” surrounded by a laurel wreath. To represent the naval, land, and air forces, the ribbon is striped green, dark brown, and sky blue, representing water, earth, and air.
During WWII (1939-45), the PDSA’s founder, Maria Dickin CBE, witnessed the incredible bravery displayed by animals on active service and on the Home Front. She introduced a special medal for animals in war, inspired by their devotion to man and duty.
Since 1943, the Medal has been awarded 74 times, with one Honorary PDSA Dickin Medal awarded in 2014. There are 37 dogs, 32 pigeons, four horses, and one cat among the recipients. (Source: Scotsman)
Image from The-East-End