2023 marks 80 years since the PDSA Dickin Medal was first awarded to acknowledge outstanding acts of bravery by animals serving with the Armed Forces or Civil Defence units.

Our founder, Maria Dickin CBE, introduced the PDSA Dickin Medal on 2 December 1943, at the height of World War II.

A tireless campaigner for animal welfare, Maria Dickin was determined to raise the status of animals in society and improve their care. The Medal was instituted to recognise outstanding acts of gallantry and devotion to duty displayed by animals serving with the Armed Forces or Civil Defence units in any theatre of war throughout the world.

Regarded worldwide as the animals' Victoria Cross, the PDSA Dickin Medal is as inspirational and relevant today as it was 80 years ago. It is a fitting tribute to the gallant animals 'who also served' and whose remarkable contributions helped save countless lives.

To celebrate the last 80 years and 75 Dickin Medal recipients, PDSA attended the Animals in War Memorial on 10 November 2023 where PDSA Director General, Jan McLoughlin, laid a wreath in memory of animals who have served in theatres of war.

Watch the inspiring stories of four Dickin Medal recipients:

Known to many as ‘The Horse the Germans couldn’t kill’, Warrior’s story is one of the most remarkable tales of animal bravery and endurance to emerge from the Great War.

Meet Warrior

White Vision earned her award for delivering messages under exceptionally difficult conditions, contributing to the rescue of an Air Crew while serving with the Royal Air Force.

Meet White Vision

Simon was a well-respected cat on board HMS Amethyst, helping the crew by hunting rats destroying their limited food supplies.

Meet Simon

Retired Military Working Dog Hertz carried out courageous and life-saving acts whilst protecting British and Allied troops while serving in Afghanistan.

Meet Hertz