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Animal Victoria Cross – The Dickin Medal

Treo with Sergeant Dave Heyhoe

Treo with Sergeant Dave Heyhoe

Many of you who have joined me on battlefield tours will know about my love of working dogs, and the fact I own a number of working English Springer Spaniels; and how I have told the story about animals serving in both World Wars, plus the story of the Dickin Medal, which is the Animal’s Victoria Cross.  Well, Military Working Dogs have never been more important that today serving with the British Army.

I recently had the great privilege of witnessing the presentation of a  to Treo, a Labrador Spaniel cross, who was accompanied by his handler, British Army Sergeant Dave Heyhoe.  The two have been working together for the past five years and he was honoured with the award at the Imperial War Museum in London as the medal was presented by HRH Princess Alexandra.

Treo with his tennis ball

Treo with his tennis ball

Nine year old Treo was given the medal for his deployment to Afghanistan with 104 Military Working Dog Support Unit, based in Rutland; when during a single infantry foot patrol Treo twice found hidden bombs and improvised explosive devises in Helmand province, saving many lives.

Treo is the 63rd animal to receive the medal to honor gallantry in war, and is the highest accolade a military working dog can be awarded.  A total of 26 other dogs, 32 World War II messenger pigeons, three horses and one cat have won the award, first introduced in 1943 by Maria Dickin, the founder of the PDSA.

It was at lunch after the event it became so obvious both Dave and Treo are inseparable ‘Treo is now retired and I finish in the Army soon’ said Dave Heyhoe ‘and we are both looking forward to a long and happy retirement’ I am sure you will join me in wishing both the very best for the future.

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