The D-Day Dogs
Mention the D-day Landings of World War II and most people will have an image of brave soldiers battling across the Normandy beaches under heavy fire from the Germans. However, did you know that there were also some 4 legged "soldiers" who played important roles in D-Day and the ensuing Battle of Normandy? Dogs were trained to sniff our explosives and mines and to keep watch in order to warn of the approach of enemy soldiers. To get dogs into Normandy as soon as possible some were parachuted in - the so-called Paradogs.
Apologies for the non politically correct name but the photo of the dog above, "Nigger", from the No. 1 Dog Platoon, 277th Field Park Company, Royal Engineers was taken in Normandy a month after D-Day. I cannot find anything more about this dog where-as the picture below show Bing, German Shepherd parachuted into Normandy with the Allies on June 6th 1944 (D-Day). Bing (originally called Brian) went on to sniff out many land mines. He later parachuted into Western Germany and after the war was awarded the Dicken Medal, the UK's highest honour for animals in war. Other recipients of the Dicken Medal include pigeons, horses and a cat which helped keep rats at bay on a navy ship thus ensuring food supplies were not lost.
Finally, I found this image of Jasper showing him being bandaged up after an injury, proving dogs as well as soldiers were wounded in Normandy.
There are some more details of the D-Day Dogs on this webpage.
We often think of the soldiers in wars but it would be nice not to forget that there were also animals that played vital roles too.