We’re thrilled that NMWDM UK is to be featured in Kennel Club Gazette this September. Plans for a national memorial honouring the courage of all military working dogs have been announced at a special event writes Isabel George in The Kennel Gazette.
Westminster’s Portcullis House was the venue for the launch hosted by the Rt. Hon. David Hanson MP who, accompanied byfellow Members of Parliament, welcomed representatives from the British Armed Forces and their families, and special guests from all sectors of the arts, literature and the world of dogs. All pledged their support for the new memorial – the first permanent tribute to singularly recognise the life-saving contribution of military working dogs and canine service mascots.
In his launch speech David Hanson praised the dedication of the team behind the memorial project, saying: “The passion shown by all those working to make these plans a reality is truly inspiring and having the support of key Members of Parliament means that we can press forward with the fundraising efforts to build a lasting memorial to our service dogs.”
The proposed design for the animal cenotaph, features bronzes of four heroic war dogs positioned as guardians of a central monument dedicated to the service dogs of the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force (RAF): Judy, a Pointer, was a Second World War Naval mascot, who spent three years in a Japanese labour camp in Sumatra. She became the only dog to be officially registered as a Prisoner of War.
RAF terrorist tracker dog, Lucky, served during the Malayan Emergency from 1949-52. The German Shepherd Dog was the only survivor of a four-dog team who successfully tracked-down insurgents, and in doing so saved many lives.
Theo, a Royal Army Veterinary Corps Arms and Explosives Search Dog was serving in Afghanistan in 2011, when his handler Lance Corporal Liam Tasker came under fatal enemy fire. Springer Spaniel Theo died from a seizure just hours after L/Cpl Tasker lost his life in the line of duty.
Air Dog Buster served in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan as an Arms and Explosives Search Dog saving, it’s said, over a thousand lives over five tours of duty. When the brave
Spaniel retired he retained the honorary position of mascot of the RAF Police until his death in 2015. Buster’s handler, Flight Sergeant ‘Will’ Barrow, commented at the launch: “Many thousands of dogs have served with the Armed Forces in many conflicts. They are a great force and have saved lives in many ways. To finally have them and their contribution recognised in this way is superb.”
The event in Parliament simultaneously launched the National Military Working Dogs Memorial (NMWDM) Trust, the charity set-up to raise the £150,000 needed to construct the memorial, which will enjoy a perfectly peaceful setting in Brynford, Flintshire. John Ward, owner of the Brynford Pet Cemetery, where the memorial will have
its home, said: “Brynford is already a popular pilgrimage for dog lovers and owners and, as hosts of this military memorial, we offer a focal point for those who wish to pay their respects to the dogs who also serve.”
The charity already has the support of key guests at the launch including the Chairman of the Commons Defence Committee, the Shadow Welsh Secretary and Shadow Defence Secretary, in addition to all branches of the Armed Forces and families of military dog handlers past and present.
Kennel Club Chairman, Simon Luxmoore, said in response to the heartfelt presentations at the event: “The contribution of the military working dog should never be underestimated in peace time, as well as in conflict. They have served and continue to serve, alongside their handlers, with unstinting courage. This memorial charity, and the ethos behind its formation, confirms that our military working dogs have earned eternal remembrance. This memorial will honour them, now and always.”
The Kennel Gazette will feature a follow up on the National Military Workings Dogs Memorial charity in an upcoming edition.