The Dickin Medal was instituted in 1943 in the United Kingdom by Maria Dickin. It is a bronze medallion, awarded to animals that have displayed “conspicuous gallantry or devotion to duty while serving or associated with any branch of the Armed Forces or Civil Defence Units”.
The medal was awarded 54 times between 1943 and 1949 – to 32 pigeons, 18 dogs, three horses, and one cat – to acknowledge actions of gallantry or devotion during the Second World War, and subsequent conflicts.
The awarding of the medal was revived in 2000 to honour Gander, a Newfoundland dog who saved infantrymen during the Battle of Lye Mun. In early 2002, the medal was given in honour of three dogs for their role responding to the September 11 attacks; it was also awarded to two dogs serving with Commonwealth forces in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Iraq.
The first recipients of the award, in December 1943, were three pigeons; White Vision, Tyke and Winkie. All serving with the Royal Air Force; each contributed to the recovery of aircrew from ditched aircraft during the Second World War.
The medal states, “We Also Serve”, which really says it all.