PDSA Dickin Medal
Instituted in 1943 by PDSA’s founder Maria Dickin CBE, it acknowledges outstanding acts of bravery displayed by animals serving with the Armed Forces or Civil Defence units in any theatre of war, worldwide.
The PDSA Dickin Medal is a large, bronze medallion bearing the words “For Gallantry” and “We Also Serve” all within a laurel wreath. The ribbon is striped green, dark brown and pale blue representing water, earth and air to symbolise the naval, land and air forces.
During the Second World War (1939-45), PDSA's founder Maria Dickin CBE was aware of incredible bravery displayed by animals on active service and the Home Front. Inspired by the animals’ devotion to man and duty, she introduced a special medal specifically for animals in war.
The PDSA Dickin Medal, recognised worldwide as the animals’ Victoria Cross, is awarded to animals displaying conspicuous gallantry or devotion to duty while serving or associated with any branch of the Armed Forces or Civil Defence Units. The PDSA Dickin Medal is the highest award any animal can receive whilst serving in military conflict.
The Medal, which can only be considered on receipt of an official commendation, has been awarded 65 times since 1943. The recipients comprised 32 pigeons, 29 dogs, three horses and one cat. In 2014 the first and only Honorary PDSA Dickin Medal was awarded to war horse Warrior on behalf of all animals that served in World War I.
What is the Honorary PDSA Dickin Medal?
The Honorary PDSA Dickin Medal was awarded to honour all the animals that served in the First World War. Their contribution to the Great War predates the institution of the PDSA Dickin Medal and the Honorary PDSA Dickin Medal recognises this.
The honorary PDSA Dickin Medal features a bronze ‘Honorary’ bar on its green, brown and blue striped ribbon.
Sixty-five PDSA Dickin Medals and one Honorary PDSA Dickin Medal have been awarded to date. The citations on the Roll of Honour (PDF - 198 KB) are a moving and unique insight into the role animals play in the service of man in times of war
If you know of an animal that has acted bravely in conflict you can contact PDSA with your nomination via this website or in writing by post. If you are connected with the animal (handler or serving in the same Service) you will need the permission of the Commanding Officer and their confirmation of the nomination in writing plus two eye-witness accounts plus the inclusion of any supporting material (documents / media reports etc). You can nominate an animal without this BUT the submission will need this information to be taken forward as a formal request.
1 link on this page is in in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format. In order to view it you will need the free Acrobat Reader software installed on your computer.