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Monday, May 26, 2014

War Dogs-Gander the Newfoundland

Dogs have been used in battle for centuries, with many tragically loosing their lives in an effort to save their human companions.  One such dog is Gander the Newfoundland:

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Gander, originally known as Pal, was, like many other WWII dogs, a family pet before being given by his owner to the Royal Rifles, a regiment of the Canadian Army, in order to assist in the war effort.  Gander was immediately popular with the soldiers, serving as both a military dog and an unofficial service dog.  The soldiers gave him the honorary rank of sergeant and brought him with them to Hong Kong in 1941.  While there Gander participated in several battles, before loosing his life.  He was killed when he picked up a Japanese hand grenade and ran towards the Japanese soldiers with it, dying in the explosion and saving several wounded Canadian soldiers. 

In the year 2000 Gander was awarded the Dickin Medal.  This medal was created by the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals, a UK veterinary charity, to honor military animals that have shown outstanding acts of bravery.   Gander's citation reads:

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. Source

Gander's name is also listed on the Canadian Veterans Hong Kong war memorial:

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  1. Thanks for sharing the story. Happy Memorial Day.

  2. Very interesting story.
    Hope you're all enjoying your Memorial Day Weekend.

  3. What an inspiring story. Thank you for taking the time to research it. I know this kind of post takes some time.

  4. What a brave dog Gander was. I hope no more wars, no more sacrifice.

    Hope you have great Memorial Day xoxo

  5. Peeps often forget about the brave animals who were so valuable to the war effort.
    Glad Gander is remembered.

    XXXOOO Bella & Roxy

  6. What a brave dog, thank you for sharing his story
    Mr Bailey, Hazel & Greta

  7. Nice post for Memorial Day. Hope you had a good one. Have a terrific Tuesday.
    Best wishes Molly

  8. Touching, endearingly sweet Memorial Day post and tribute to dear Gander. I can't help but especially love that he's a Newfie, a breed that hails originally from my own country.

    Thank you for this special post, dear Kate.

    ♥ Jessica


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