Rip the Search and Rescue Dog
Contributor: Alan Chanter
A stray mixed-breed terrier, Rip was found wandering about after a bombing raid in Poplar, London, England, United Kingdom by an air raid warden named Mr. E. King. King soon adopted the dog and he became the mascot of the Southill Street Air Raid Patrol. Despite having no training, Rip had a talent for locating people trapped in bomb damaged buildings. He would sniff and scratch for signs of life before barking to attract attention.
Such was his skill that Rip became the ARP Service's first official search and rescue dog. In 12 months during 1940-41 it is reckoned that he rescued over 100 Blitz victims in London. His success was partially responsible for prompting the training of many more search and rescue dogs by the end of the war. Rip was awarded the PDSA Dickin medal in July 1945, which is the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross. His citation read: "For locating many air raid victims during the Blitz of 1940."
Rip wore his Medal on his collar until the day he died in 1946. He is buried at PDSA's Animal Cemetery in Ilford, Essex, England. Rip's headstone reads: "We also serve - for the dog whose body lies here played his part in the Battle of Britain". His medal was sold at auction in London on 23 April 2009 fetching a record price for a Dickin Medal of Â£24,250.
Charles Cinger (Editor): The Blitz (Future Publishing Ltd, 2021)
Wikipedia: Rip (Dog)
Last Major Update: Jun 2021
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