1. Winkie (pigeon)
Winkie was presented the Dickin Medal in March 1943 for her assistance rescuing a stranded aircrew in the North Sea. After her bomber went down in the freezing waters, the crew released her as they had no means of radioing their position. Winkie flew 120 miles back to Broughty Ferry, where her owner alerted the nearby airbase, and a search and rescue was formed. Within fifteen minutes, the Royal Air Force had determined where the crew was and they all survived. (Image via.)
2. Paddy (pigeon)
Paddy, an Irish carrier pigeon, received the Dickin Medal for being the first pigeon to return to England with news of the D-Day’s invasion’s success. Out of hundreds of other birds dispatched, he flew 230 miles in just four hours and fifty minutes, faster than any of his cohort. He’s also the only animal in Ireland to receive the medal. (Image via.)
3. Jet of Iada (dog)
Jet, an Alsatian from Liverpool, rescued fifty people and assisted in the rescue of 150 others trapped under blitzed buildings during WWII. He was awarded the Dickin Medal on 12 January 1945 as well as the Medallion of Valor for his efforts working with the Civil Defence Services of London. (Image via.)
4. Crumstone Irma (dog)
Irma was also an Alsatian, awarded the Dickin Medal at the same ceremony as Jet, for helping save 191 lives of those trapped under blitzed buildings. Her owner, Margaret Griffin, also received the British Empire Medal for her excellence in dog training. (Image via.)
5. Rip (dog)
A mixed-breed terrier, Rip received the Dickin Medal in 1945 for bravery, saving the lives of over 100 people. He was the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals’s (PDSA) first search and rescue dog, and the first of twelve Dickin winners who were buried at their cemetery in Ilford, Essex. (Image via.)
6. Beauty (dog)
Beauty, a wirehaired terrier, was awarded the Dickin Medal on 12 January 1945 for “being the pioneer dog in locating buried air-raid victims while serving with a PDSA Rescue Squad.” Not only that, but she saved 63 animals, too. (Image via.)
7. Rob (dog)
Rob the collie was a baller. He made over twenty parachute descents with the Special Air Service during WWII’s North African Campaign. He was awarded the Dickin Medal on 3 February 1945. (Image via.)
8. Commando (pigeon)
Commando worked with the British armed forces to carry “crucial intelligence.” Performing in more than ninety missions, he received the Dickin Medal on 12 April 1945, particularly because of missions where he delivered messages with locations of German troops and industrial sites in France, as well as injured British soldiers. (Image via.)
9. William of Orange (pigeon)
Working with the British secret service MI14, William received the Dickin Medal in May 1945 for successfully delivering a message that saved over 2000 soldiers’ lives during the Battle of Arnhem. To do so, he flew more than 250 miles. Also, he was later the “grandfather of many outstanding racing pigeons.” Stud. (Image via.)
10. Mary of Exeter (pigeon)
Mary, a member of the National Pigeon Service during WWII, received the Dickin Medal in November 1945 for performing valiantly despite numerous battle wounds. These included being attacked by German hawks, being flanked by shrapnel, and having part of her wing shot off. She completed all her missions successfully, despite these injuries and requiring 22 stitches. (Image via.)
11. Judy (dog)
A ship’s dog aboard the HMS Gnat and HMS Grasshopper, Judy was a purebred pointer who saved the lives of the Grasshopper’s crew when it sunk in hostile waters. Once the crew was captured by the Japanese, she helped the men in the prisoner-of-war camp, ultimately being the only dog registered as a WWII POW. She even survived “for a while” in the jungles of Sumatra when under execution orders. She received the Dickin Medal in May 1946. (Image via.)
12. G.I. Joe (pigeon)
G.I. Joe was enlisted in the United States Army Pigeon Service and went on to save the lives of the villagers of Calvi Vecchia, Italy, as well as the British troops occupying it. This village was going to be bombarded by Allied forces, but he delivered the message just in time to prevent it. He was awarded the Dickin Medal for gallantry in November 1946. (Image via.)
13. Gander (dog)
Gander, a Newfoundland, served in the Royal Rifles, a regiment of the Canadian Army. During the Battle of Hong Kong (8 December 1941), Gander picked up a thrown Japanese hand grenade and rushed forward with it back toward the enemy, saving the lives of wounded Canadian soldiers, but himself dying in the explosion. He received the Dickin Medal posthumously in 2000. (Image via.)
14. Simon (cat)
Found “undernourished and unwell” wandering Hong Kong dockyards in 1948, George Hickinbottom smuggled him aboard the HMS Amethyst and appointed him honorary “Able Seacat.” Simon quickly befriended his shipmates, despite cheekily leaving gifts of dead rats in sailors’ beds and taking naps in the captain’s cap. He was awarded the Dickin Medal in 1949, as a result of his killing off a rat infestation onboard the Amethyst, raising morale, and surviving injuries from a cannon shell. From this injury, Simon died at age two, 28 November 1949. He is the only feline to receive the honor. (Image via.)
15. Appollo (dog)
Appollo served with the K-9 unit of the New York Police Department as a search and rescue dog. Appollo, a German Shepherd, along with his handler, Peter Davies, arrived just fifteen minutes after the September 11 bombings, and he was the first search and rescue dog to arrive. He was awarded the Dickin Medal in recognition of all the dogs who helped in the rescues after the bombings. (Image via.)
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