BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: UK
Front Page 
World 
UK 
England 
Northern Ireland 
Scotland 
Wales 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 

Thursday, 27 July, 2000, 17:02 GMT 18:02 UK
Hero animals' medals auctioned
Pigeon
Thousands of pigeons were used during both wars
A pair of medals awarded to a dog and pigeon who saved a number of lives during World War II have been sold at auction in London for almost 10,000.

The two Dickin Medals - the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross - were presented for the exceptional part each played in the war effort more than 50 years ago.

The first medal was presented to a collie dog called Peter, for saving the lives of six people buried under the rubble of London during the Blitz.

The second was presented to Tyke, a homing pigeon who helped rescue an American air crew serving with the RAF.

Royal kiss

Peter was a member of the Civil Defence Service of London.

A confidential report written at the time said he often worked with little sleep and "never once refused to give all he had".

After VE Day the dog was chosen to lead a civil defence parade and was presented to the King and Queen.

A young Princess Elizabeth thanked him for his services by kissing him on the nose.

He ended his days at the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals in Nottingham at the age of 11 and was buried in the Animal Cemetery in Ilford, Essex.

Rescue

Tyke was reared in Cairo and served with the Middle East Pigeon Service.

In June 1943, he carried a message from a point approximately 100 miles from a base in poor visibility.

As a result an air crew was rescued and afterwards the men claimed they owed their lives to the pigeon.

The Dickin Medal, popularly referred to as "The Animal V.C." was awarded on 53 occasions between 1943 and 1949.

The medal awarded to Peter fetched 4,600, while Tyke's reached 4,830, a thousand pounds more than predicted, when they went under the hammer at Spink in London.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more UK stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more UK stories