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: