PDSA Dickin Medal

The PDSA Dickin Medal is the highest award any animal can receive whilst serving in military conflict. It is recognised worldwide as the animals’ Victoria Cross. Instituted in 1943 by PDSA’s founder Maria Dickin CBE, it acknowledges outstanding acts of bravery or devotion to duty displayed by animals serving with the Armed Forces or Civil Defence units in any theatre of war throughout the world.

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 sky 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 the 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 Medal has been awarded 65 times since 1943 plus 1 Honorary PDSA Dickin Medal which was awarded in 2014. The recipients comprise 32 pigeons, 29 dogs, 3 horses and 1 cat.

What is the Honorary PDSA Dickin Medal?

The Honorary PDSA Dickin Medal was awarded to War Horse Warrior 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 is a unique award designed to recognise the role that ALL animals played during this time.


Roll of Honour

DOGS

Awards made between 2000 – to date

Sasha – Labrador
Royal Army Veterinary Corps, Arms and Explosives Search dog
Date of Award: awarded posthumously on 21 May 2014
“For outstanding gallantry and devotion to duty while assigned to 2nd Battalion, The Parachute
Regiment, in Afghanistan 2008.”

Theo – Springer Spaniel
Royal Army Veterinary Corps, Arms and Explosives Search dog
Date of Award: awarded posthumously on 25 October 2012
For outstanding gallantry and devotion to duty while deployed with 104 Military Working Dog (MWD) Squadron during conflict in Afghanistan September 2010 to March 2011.

Treo - Labrador
Royal Army Veterinary Corps, Arms and Explosives Search dog
Date of Award: 24 February 2010
On 15 August 2008, while acting as forward protection for 8 Platoon, The Royal Irish Regiment, Treo located a ‘daisy chain’ IED – an improvised explosive device designed to trigger a series of bombs – on a roadside where soldiers were about to pass. It was subsequently confirmed that the device uncovered was new to the area and would have inflicted significant casualties. On 3 and 4 September 2008 Treo’s actions were reported as saving 7 Platoon from guaranteed casualties, again as the result of an IED. Without doubt, Treo’s actions and devotion to his duties, while in the throes of conflict, saved many lives.

Sadie: Labrador 
RAVC arms and explosive search dog – Kabul, Afghanistan in November 2005 
Date of Award: 6 February 2007 
“For outstanding gallantry and devotion to duty while assigned to the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Light Infantry during conflict in Afghanistan in 2005. On 14 November 2005 military personnel serving with NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Kabul were involved in two separate attacks. Sadie and Lance Corporal Yardley were deployed to search for secondary explosive devices. 
Sadie gave a positive indication near a concrete blast wall and multinational personnel were moved to a safe distance. Despite the obvious danger Sadie and Lance Corporal Yardley completed their search. At the site of Sadie’s indication, bomb disposal operators later made safe an explosive device. The bomb was designed to inflict maximum injury. Sadie’s actions undoubtedly saved the lives of many civilians and soldiers.”

Lucky: German Shepherd 
RAF number 3610 AD: RAF Police anti-terrorist tracker dog – from 1949 to 1952 during the Malaya Campaign 
Date of Award: 6 February 2007 
“For the outstanding gallantry and devotion to duty of the RAF Police anti-terrorist tracker dog team, comprising Bobbie, Jasper, Lassie and Lucky, while attached to the Civil Police and several British Army regiments including the Coldstream Guards, 2nd Battalion Royal Scots Guards and the Ghurkhas during the Malaya Campaign.
Bobbie, Jasper, Lassie and Lucky displayed exceptional determination and life-saving skills during the Malaya Campaign. The dogs and their handlers were an exceptional team, capable of tracking and locating the enemy by scent despite unrelenting heat and an almost impregnable jungle. Sadly, three of the dogs lost their lives in the line of duty: only Lucky survived to the end of the conflict.”

Buster - Springer Spaniel
Royal Army Veterinary Corps 
Date of Award: 9 December 2003
“For outstanding gallantry in March 2003 while assigned to the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment in Safwan, Southern Iraq. Arms and explosives search dog Buster located an arsenal of weapons and explosives hidden behind a false wall in a property linked with an extremist group. Buster is considered responsible for saving the lives of service personnel and civilians. Following the find, all attacks ceased and shortly afterwards and troops replaced their steel helmets with berets.”

Sam – German Shepherd
Royal Army Veterinary Corps
Date of Award: 14 January 2003
“For outstanding gallantry in April 1998 while assigned to the Royal Canadian Regiment in Drvar during the conflict in Bosnia-Hertzegovina. On two documented occasions Sam displayed great courage and devotion to duty. On 18 April Sam successfully brought down an armed man threatening the lives of civilians and Service personnel. On 24 April, while guarding a compound harbouring Serbian refugees, Sam’s determined approach held off rioters until reinforcements arrived. This dog’s true valour saved the lives of many servicemen and civilians during this time of human conflict.”

Salty and Roselle – Labrador Guide dogs

Date of Award: 5 March 2002
“For remaining loyally at the side of their blind owners, courageously leading them down more than 70 floors of the World Trade Center and to a place of safety following the terrorist attack on New York on 11 September 2001.”

Appollo – German Shepherd
Date of Award: 5 March 2002
NYPD dog Appollo received the PDSA Dickin Medal on behalf of all the Search and Rescue dogs at Ground Zero and the Pentagon following the terrorist attack on 11 September 2001. 
“For tireless courage in the service of humanity during the search and rescue operations in New York and Washington on and after 11 September 2001." Faithful to words of command and undaunted by the task, the dogs’ work and unstinting devotion to duty stand as a testament to those lost or injured.”

Gander - Newfoundland
Date of Award: awarded posthumously on 27 October 2000
“For saving the lives of Canadian infantrymen during the Battle of Lye Mun on Hong Kong Island in December 1941. On three documented occasions Gander, the Newfoundland mascot of the Royal Rifles of Canada engaged the enemy as his regiment joined the Winnipeg Grenadiers, members of Battalion Headquarters ‘C’ Force and other Commonwealth troops in their courageous defence of the Island. Twice Gander’s attacks halted the enemy’s advance and protected groups of wounded soldiers. In a final act of bravery the war dog was killed in action gathering a grenade. Without Gander’s intervention many more lives would have been lost in the assault.”

Awards made between 1946 – 1949

Tich - Egyptian Mongrel
1st Battalion King’s Royal Rifle Corps
Date of Award: 1 July 1949
“For loyalty, courage and devotion to duty under hazardous conditions of war 1941 to 1945, while serving with the 1st King's Rifle Corps in North Africa and Italy.”

Antis - Alsatian
Date of Award: 28 January 1949
“Owned by a Czech airman, this dog served with him in the French Air Force and RAF from 1940 to 1945, both in N. Africa and England. Returning to Czechoslovakia after the war, he substantially helped his master’s escape across the frontier when after the death of Jan Masaryk, he had to fly from the Communists.”

Brian - Alsatian 
Date of Award: 29 March 1947

Ricky – Welsh Collie
Date of Award: 29 March 1947
“This dog was engaged in cleaning the verges of the canal bank at Nederweent, Holland. He found all the mines but during the operation one of them exploded. Ricky was wounded in the head but remained calm and kept at work. Had he become excited he would have been a danger to the rest of the section working nearby.”

Punch and Judy - Boxer dog and bitch
Date of Awards: November 1946
“These dogs saved the lives of two British Officers in Israel by attacking an armed terrorist who was stealing upon them unawares and thus warning them of their danger. Punch sustained 4 bullet wounds and Judy a long graze down her back.”

Judy - Pedigree Pointer 
Date of Award: May 1946 
“For magnificent courage and endurance in Japanese prison camps, which helped to maintain morale among her fellow prisoners and also for saving many lives through her intelligence and watchfulness.”

Awards made between 1944 – 1945

Peter - Collie
Date of Award: November 1945
“For locating victims trapped under blitzed buildings while serving with the MAP attached to Civil Defence of London.”

Rip - Mongrel
Stray picked up by Civil Defence Squad at Poplar, London E14 
Date of Award: 1945 
“For locating many air-raid victims during the blitz of 1940.”

Sheila - Collie 

Date of Award: 2 July 1945
“For assisting in the rescue of four American Airmen lost on the Cheviots in a blizzard after an air crash in December, 1944.”

Rex - Alsatian
MAP Civil Defence Rescue Dog
Date of Award: April 1945
“For outstanding good work in the location of casualties in burning buildings. Undaunted by smouldering debris, thick smoke, intense heat and jets of water from fire hoses, this dog displayed uncanny intelligence and outstanding determination in his efforts to follow up any scent which led him to a trapped casualty.”

Rifleman Khan - Alsatian
147. 6th Battalion Cameronians (SR)
Date of Award: 27 March 1945
“For rescuing L/Cpl. Muldoon from drowning under heavy shell fire at the assault of Walcheren, November 1944, while serving with the 6th Cameronians (SR).”

Thorn - Alsatian
MAP Serving with Civil Defence
Date of Award: 2 March 1945
“For locating air-raid casualties in spite of thick smoke in a burning building.”

Rob - Collie
War Dog No. 471/332 Special Air Service
Date of Award: 22 January 1945
“Took part in landings during North African Campaign with an Infantry unit and later served with a Special Air Unit in Italy as patrol and guard on small detachments lying-up in enemy territory. His presence with these parties saved many of them from discovery and subsequent capture or destruction. Rob made over 20 parachute descents.”

Beauty - Wire-Haired Terrier
PDSA Rescue Squad
Date of Award: 12 January 1945
“For being the pioneer dog in locating buried air-raid victims while serving with a PDSA Rescue Squad.”

Irma -Alsatian
MAP Serving with Civil Defence
Date of Award: 12 January 1945
“For being responsible for the rescue of persons trapped under blitzed buildings while serving with the Civil Defences of London.”

Jet - Alsatian

MAP Serving with Civil Defence
Date of Award: 12 January 1945
“For being responsible for the rescue of persons trapped under blitzed buildings while serving with the Civil Defence Services of London.”

Bob - Mongrel
6th Royal West Kent Regt.
Date of Award: 24 March 1944
“For constant devotion to duty with special mention of Patrol work at Green Hill, North Africa, while serving with the 6th Battalion Queens Own Royal West Kent Regt.”


PIGEONS

Awards made between 1943 - 1945


White Vision
Pigeon - SURP.41.L.3089
Date of Award: 2 December 1943
“For delivering a message under exceptionally difficult conditions and so contributing to the rescue of an Air Crew while serving with the RAF in October 1943.”

Winkie
Pigeon - NEHU.40.NS.1
Date of Award: 2 December 1943
“For delivering a message under exceptionally difficult conditions and so contributing to the rescue of an Air Crew while serving with the RAF in February, 1942.”

Tyke (also known as George)
Pigeon - Number 1263 MEPS 43
Date of Award: 2 December 1943
“For delivering a message under exceptionally difficult conditions and so contributing to the rescue of an Air Crew, while serving with the RAF in the Mediterranean in June, 1943.”

Beach Comber
Pigeon - NPS.41.NS.4230
Date of Award: 6 March 1944
“For bringing the first news to this country of the landing at Dieppe, under hazardous conditions in September, 1942, while serving with the Canadian Army.”

Gustav
Pigeon - NPS.42.31066
Date of Award: 1 September 1944
“For delivering the first message from the Normandy Beaches from a ship off the beach-head while serving with the RAF on 6 June 1944.”

Paddy

Pigeon - NPS.43.9451
Date of Award: 1 September 1944
“For the best recorded time with a message from the Normandy Operations, while serving with the RAF in June, 1944.”

Kenley Lass
Pigeon - NURP.36.JH.190
Date of Award: March 1945
“For being the first pigeon to be used with success for secret communications from an Agent in enemy-occupied France while serving with the NPS in October 1940.”

Navy Blue
Pigeon - NPS.41.NS.2862
Date of Award: March 1945
“For delivering an important message from a Raiding Party on the West Coast of France, although injured, while serving with the RAF in June, 1944.

Flying Dutchman

Pigeon – NPS.42.NS.44802
Date of Award: March 1945
“For successfully delivering messages from Agents in Holland on three occasions. Missing on fourth mission, while serving with the RAF in 1944.”

Dutch Coast
Pigeon - NURP.41. A.2164
Date of Award: March 1945
“For delivering an SOS from a ditched Air Crew close to the enemy coast 288 miles distance in 7½ hours, under unfavourable conditions, while serving with the RAF in April 1942.”

Commando
Pigeon - NURP.38.EGU.242
Date of Award: March 1945
“For successfully delivering messages from Agents in Occupied France on three occasions: twice under exceptionally adverse conditions, while serving with the NPS in 1942.”

Royal Blue
Pigeon - NURP.40.GVIS.453
Date of award: March 1945
“For being the first pigeon in this war to deliver a message from a forced landed aircraft on the Continent while serving with the RAF in October, 1940.”

Ruhr Express
Pigeon - NPS.43.29018
Date of Award: May 1945
“For carrying an important message from the Ruhr Pocket in excellent time, while serving with the RAF in April, 1945.”

William of Orange

Pigeon - NPS.42.NS.15125
Date of Award: May 1945
“For delivering a message from the Arnheim Airborne Operation in record time for any single pigeon, while serving with the APS in September 1944.”

Scotch Lass
Pigeon - NPS.42.21610
Date of Award: June 1945
“For bringing 38 microphotographs across the North Sea in good time although injured, while serving with the RAF in Holland in September 1944.”

Billy

Pigeon - NU.41.HQ.4373
Date of Award: August 1945
“For delivering a message from a force-landed bomber, while in a state of complete collapse and under exceptionally bad weather conditions, while serving with the RAF in 1942.”

Broad Arrow
Pigeon - 41.BA.2793
Date of Award: October 1945
“For bringing important messages three times from enemy occupied country,
viz: May 1943, June 1943 and August 1943, while serving with the Special Service from the Continent.”

Pigeon - NPS.42.NS.2780

Date of Award: October 1945
“For bringing important messages three times from enemy occupied country,
viz: July 1942, August 1942 and April 1943, while serving with the Special Service from the Continent.”

Pigeon - NPS.42.NS.7524
Date of Award: October 1945
“For bringing important messages three times from enemy-occupied country,
viz: July 1942, May 1943 and July 1943, while serving with the Special Service from the continent.”

Maquis
Pigeon - NPSNS.42.36392
Date of Award: October 1945
“For bringing important messages three times from enemy occupied country,
viz: May 1943 (Amiens) February, 1944 (Combined Operations) and June, 1944 (French Maquis) while serving with the Special Service from the Continent.”

Mary
Pigeon - NURP.40.WCE.249
Date of Award: November 1945
“For outstanding endurance on War Service in spite of wounds.”

Awards made 1946 - 1947


Tommy

Pigeon - NURP.41.DHZ56
Date of Award: February 1946
“For delivering a valuable message from Holland to Lancashire under difficult conditions, while serving with NPS in July 1942.”

All Alone

Pigeon - NURP.39.SDS.39
Date of Award: February 1946
“For delivering an important message in one day over a distance of 400 miles, while serving with the NPS in August, 1943.”

Princess
Pigeon - 42WD593
Date of Award: May 1946
“Sent on special mission to Crete, this pigeon returned to her loft (RAF
Alexandria) having travelled about 500 miles mostly over sea, with most valuable information. One of the finest performances in the war record of the Pigeon Service.”

Mercury
Pigeon - NURP.37.CEN.335
Date of Award: August 1946
“For carrying out a special task involving a flight of 480 miles from Northern Denmark while serving with the Special Section Army Pigeon Service in July 1942.”

Pigeon - NURP.38.BPC.6.
Date of Award: August 1946
“For three outstanding flights from France while serving with the Special Section, Army Pigeon Service, 11 July 1941, 9 September 1941, and 29 November 1941.”

GI Joe
Pigeon - USA43SC6390
Date of Award: August 1946
“This bird is credited with making the most outstanding flight by a USA Army Pigeon in World War II. Making the 20 mile flight from British 10th Army HQ, in the same number of minutes, it brought a message which arrived just in time to save the lives of at least 100 Allied soldiers from being bombed by their own planes.”

Duke of Normandy

Pigeon - NURP.41.SBC.219
Date of Award: 8 January 1947
“For being the first bird to arrive with a message from Paratroops of 21st Army Group behind enemy lines on D Day 6 June, 1944, while serving with APS.”

Pigeon - NURP.43.CC.1418
Date of Award: 8 January 1947
“For the fastest flight with message from 6th Airborne Div. Normandy, 7 June, 1944, while serving with APS.”

Pigeon - DD.43.T.139 (Australian Army Signal Corps)

Date of award: February 1947
“During a heavy tropical storm this bird was released from Army Boat 1402 which had foundered on Wadou Beach in the Huon Gulf. Homing 40 miles to Madang it brought a message which enabled a rescue ship to be sent in time to salvage the craft and its valuable cargo of stores and ammunition.”

Pigeon - DD.43.Q.879 (Australian Army Signal Corps)
Date of award: February 1947
“During an attack by Japanese on a US Marine patrol on Manus Island, pigeons were released to warn headquarters of an impending enemy counter-attack. Two were shot down but DD43 despite heavy fire directed at it reached HQ with the result that enemy concentrations were bombed and the patrol extricated.”

Cologne
Pigeon - NURP39.NPS.144
Date of Award: unknown
“For homing from a crashed aircraft over Cologne although seriously wounded, while serving with the RAF in 1943.”

HORSES

Warrior - Canadian Corps Cavalry Horse
Date of Award: awarded posthumously on 2 September 2014
“Warrior and Captain Jack Seely commanded three regiments of the Canadian Cavalry, leading the charge at some of the bloodiest and most infamous battles of World War I. Warrior’s Honorary PDSA Dickin Medal was awarded on behalf of all animals that served in the Great War.”


Olga - Police Horse
Date of Award: 11 April 1947

“On duty when a flying bomb demolished four houses in Tooting and a plate-glass window crashed immediately in front of her. Olga, after bolting for 100 yards, returned to the scene of the incident and remained on duty with her rider, controlling traffic and assisting rescue organisations.”

Upstart - Police Horse
Date of Award: 11 April 1947
“While on patrol duty in Bethnal Green a flying bomb exploded within 75 yards, showering both horse and rider with broken glass and debris. Upstart was completely unperturbed and remained quietly on duty with his rider controlling traffic, etc., until the incident had been dealt with.”

Regal - Police Horse
Date of Award: 11 April 1947
“Was twice in burning stables caused by explosive incendiaries at Muswell Hill. Although receiving minor injuries, being covered by debris and close to the flames, this horse showed no signs of panic.”

CATS

Simon
Date of Award: awarded posthumously 1949 
“Served on HMS Amethyst during the Yangtze Incident, disposing of many rats though wounded by shell blast. Throughout the incident his behaviour was of the highest order, although the blast was capable of making a hole over a foot in diameter in a steel plate.”

HOW ARE THE AWARDS ASSESSED

Awards are approved by PDSA’s Council following receipt of an official citation, supported by a corroborative witness statement or a character statement.

To request more information about the PDSA Gold Medal, please use this Animal Award contact form.

HOW CAN I NOMINATE AN ANIMAL FOR THE PDSA DICKIN MEDAL?

If you know of an animal that has either saved a life or been seriously injured or killed while carrying out official duties in the face of armed or violent opposition – you can contact PDSA with your nomination via this website or in writing by post to: 

Animal Awards Team, PDSA Head Office, 
Whitechapel Way, 
Priorslee, 
Telford, 
Shropshire, 
TF2 9PQ

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.