NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

'Heroic' World War Two dog Peggy honoured 73 years after death

Billy the Bull Terrier accepted the award on behalf of Peggy
Image caption Billy the Bull Terrier accepted the award on behalf of Peggy

A "heroic" dog who comforted captured Scottish soldiers during World War Two has been posthumously recognised.

Bull Terrier Peggy became the mascot of the 2nd Battalion Gordon Highlanders after soldiers discovered her as an abandoned puppy in Malaya.

The soldiers were taken prisoner but kept Peggy, and fed her from rations.

Upon release, she lived at the battalion's barracks in Aberdeen until dying in 1947. Peggy is now getting a posthumous PDSA commendation.

The veterinary charity said it was a "remarkable story", and warranted the special ceremony at the Gordon Highlanders Museum in Aberdeen.

Peggy was described as a "loyal companion" to the soldiers as they fought Japanese forces.

When they were sent to Thailand to carry out hard physical labour the dog was said to have played an integral role in boosting morale for the three-and-a-half years in captivity.

Image copyright Gordon Highlanders Museum
Image caption Peggy died in 1947

The soldiers refused to travel back to Scotland unless Peggy was allowed to join them on the journey home.

She was nominated for the PDSA award by Stewart Mitchell, a volunteer historian at the museum.

'Exceptional animal'

He said: "Peggy was a loyal and courageous ally to her Gordon Highlander comrades.

"When she saw a Gordon Highlander being attacked, she would fearlessly try to intervene, often at the cost of a blow with a split bamboo cane or worse, a stab from a guard's bayonet.

"She bore the scars of these encounters for her entire life."

He added: "Throughout the whole duration of their imprisonment, with the men in a seemingly hopeless situation, just struggling to survive another day with no end in sight, Peggy's presence boosted their morale. I hope this award will bring attention to the important role she has played during a dark period in the Regiment's history."

Image caption Peggy's grave is at the museum

PDSA vet Fiona Gregge said: "Peggy's remarkable story has touched all of us here at PDSA.

"The PDSA Commendation recognises the outstanding devotion that animals display and celebrates the amazing ways they enrich our lives. It is clear that members of the Battalion drew a great amount of strength from Peggy's unwavering loyalty and friendship during what was a deeply traumatic time in their lives.

"The fact the Gordon Highlanders the refused to board their ship home unless Peggy could sail with them speaks volumes about the bond that was formed. Peggy was a truly exceptional animal and she is a worthy recipient of this award."

Billy the Bull Terrier accepted the award on behalf of Peggy.

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