Our smaller brothers, serving in the army, as real warriors, do not even dream of medals and various incentives. However, they are also sometimes rewarded for military merit! Four-legged soldiers receive not only more food as gratitude, but also the most real rewards.
The Second World War forced not only people to fight, but also dogs, mules, pigeons and cats, who saved a huge number of lives, showing rare courage. Maria Dikin considered it unfair that there is no separate award for animal heroes. The very first medals were received by carrier pigeons, which conveyed messages of a secret nature.
The Mary Deakin Medal is the UK's highest military honor for animals. This award appeared in 1943 on the initiative of Maria Deakin, who founded the PDSA (People's Hospital for Sick Animals) charitable organization for helping animals. Maria Dikin suggested rewarding animals that, on an equal basis with people, take an active part in the war and risk their own lives to save others. The Mary Deakin Medal has the same value as the Victoria Cross, the highest military award in England.
The Maria Deakin medal is made of bronze. It depicts a laurel wreath with two inscriptions: “We Also Serve”, which means “We also serve” in English, and “For Gallantry” - translated from English “For courage”. Traditionally, the award is presented by the Lord Mayor of London.
According to statistics, from 1943 to February 2008, the Maria Deakin award was presented 63 times. Among the animals that were awarded the Maria Deakin Medal were not only four-legged pets: horses, cats, dogs, but also pigeons. During the Second World War, animals received 53 awards named after Maria Deakin, of which 1 went to a cat, 3 to horses, 18 to dogs and 31 to pigeons. And the last award went to Sapper Treo, a black labrador who distinguished himself during military operations in Afghanistan. The award found a hero in 2010.
In the fall of 2004, a monument dedicated to all the animals that fought alongside people was unveiled in London. On the monument there is an image of the Maria Dikin award itself.