Remembering

Remembering the Animals that Served

Leading up to Remembrance Day, the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) has added a new commemorative Animals in War collectible pin to the collection.

A cat is featured on this year’s pin to commemorate their wartime contributions as companions and to keeping ships free of vermin.

“On November 11, we remember all those who served, including the animals who stood bravely alongside our veterans,” Doug Brooks, chief executive officer, Ontario SPCA and Humane Society, stated.

Beachcomber served with the Canadian Army during the Second World War. Messages were written on a small piece of paper that were then placed in a container that was attached to Beachcomber’s leg. This heroic pigeon was the first to bring news of the landing at Dieppe, flying under hazardous conditions, in August 1942. For this act of valour, he was awarded the PDSA Dickin Medal on March 6, 1944. Image courtesy of PDSA.

Wearing Animal in War Pin

He added, “By wearing the Animals in War pin alongside your poppy this Remembrance Day, you are remembering the courage and sacrifice of our veterans and the animals who gave everything for us.”

According to the Ontario SPCA, “the pin is intended to be worn as a complement to the poppy in remembrance of our veterans and the animals who bravely served by their side.”

The first pin was introduced in 2017. The collection includes a horse, a dog, a pigeon, and now a cat. The animal on the pin symbolizes the wartime contributions of all animals, an Ontario SPCA press release noted.

Simon Able Seacat Simon served on HMS Amethyst. He was chosen to receive the PDSA Dickin Medal in December 1949, the only cat to ever receive this award. Sadly, Simon died only a month prior to receiving the award, most likely from his injuries. He was buried in London, England with full naval honours by his crew. Image courtesy of the PDSA.

Able Seacat Simon

Able Seacat Simon, born in 1947 in Hong Kong, was picked up as a stray by a sailor aboard the HMS Amethyst. He worked alongside his fellow seamen to catch rats and provide comfort. Not long after his adoption, he travelled with his crew when the ship was sent to the Yangtze River in China to protect British citizens in the area.

The ship was brutally attacked with many of its sailors killed. After the fighting was over, only 50 remained aboard, many of whom were injured. Though Simon was also injured, he remained on board performing his duties of boosting morale and catching rats. The doctor on board believed that Simon could prove useful to the injured and ill seamen in the sick bay. So Simon would visit the sick bay, kneading his paws, purring and tending to his own wounds.

Since the soldiers could relate with Simon’s injuries, his visits soon became welcomed. After 101 days, the sailors were able to reach safety. News of Simon’s heroism spread far and wide, and he was chosen to receive the PDSA Dickin Medal in December 1949, the only cat to ever receive this award. Sadly, Simon died only a month prior to receiving the award, most likely from his injuries. He was buried in London, England with full naval honours by his crew.

Since ancient times, horses have been the backbone of militaries around the world, including the Canadian military. During the First World War, thousands of horses were shipped to the frontline by Canada to carry supplies and pull artillery guns. In 1914, the first contingent of troops to leave for England took 7,636 horses with them. Even today, horses can be seen filling ceremonial roles or helping veterans overcome PTSD. This image courtesy of Library and Archives of Canada a soldier with Vimy the foal, right.

Animals and their Jobs

Mules carried artillery, horses transported troops and hauled field guns, pigeons delivered crucial messages, and dogs have served as messengers, medical assistants, bomb detectors, and search and rescue workers.

Any money raised from pin sales will help provide care for animals in need and support veterans. For every pin sold, $1 will be donated to Royal Canadian Legion branches across the province of Ontario.

Purchasing a Pin

Pins can be purchased for $12 each plus shipping. The Ontario SPCA advises people to order their pins before November 3 to ensure they are delivered by Remembrance Day.

Animals in War pins are available online here or by calling the Ontario SPCA at 1-888-668-7722 ext. 360 to place your order by phone.

Show More

Julia Lennips

Julia is a journalist who is an avid reader and an artist. She is living in North Bay, ON pursing her passion for reporting.

Leave a Reply

Close