By Kirsty Topping
THE Ministry of Defence has issued a certificate for
“loyal and faithful service” during the Second World War – to a dog.
The Alsatian, named Roy, served with Allied forces in occupied Europe and the Far East, and may even have been parachuted out of planes into enemy territory.
Roy returned at the end of the war, missing half of one ear, and ended his days – at the ripe old age of 18 – with details of his wartime antics an enduring mystery.
Roy’s owner, Jim Love, from West Lothian, wanted to show his 12-year-old grandson proof of his beloved pet’s wartime service and enlisted the help of his local MP.
The MoD trawled through millions of wartime records and finally produced the dog’s service certificate, which recorded for posterity the
“tireless’ service of
It states: “This certificate is awarded to RAF Police Patrol Dog No. 2808 “Roy” in grateful recognition of tireless effort andconstantdevotion to duty willingly rendered to Britain and all of the free peoples of the World in time of War.”
Jim was just 10 when wartime rationing and the military’s need for dogs meant his family agreed to hand over their pet.
Jim, 82, waved Roy off to a Guard Dog Training School in England, unsure when, or if, he would see him again.
Throughout the war the family received updates, but the War Office never let on where he was or what he was doing.
The only clue to Roy’s whereabouts came when the Army asked permission to send Roy to the Far East to join the campaign against the Japanese.
“What went on when he was away, we’ll never know,’ said Jim.
Roy was with a unit that was reputed to parachute dogs behind enemy lines to act as guard dogs to elite troops.
“They would drop dogs in with the troops,’ said Jim.
“But the War Office never told us what Roy did. “
At the end of the war Roy was returned to Jim, minus half of his right ear.
He never forgot his wartime experiences, often hiding from approachin vehicles as he had been trained to do.
Jim, from Bathgate, said:
“When he saw or heard an engine he dived under a hedge, taking me with him because I had him on a chain. It was something he’d been trained to do, keep out of lights. “
Roy also had difficulty adjusting to the post-war diet in Britain.
“My mother called the War Office and asked what she should feed him and they said he’d been getting a pound and a half to a pound and three quarters of cooked meat a day unless he was going on patrol and then it was raw meat.
“Well, we weren’t even getting that much in a week on rations.”
Roy became a police patrol dog, but was later released from duty as he was deemed too big and too strong.
Jim said: “He was a great big beast. When I went down the street, everybody cleared the area. They knew he was a war dog so they kept away.
“He never interfered with anybody, though, unless they touched me or one of the family.”
Jim added: “I am glad to tell the story of my brave dog Roy.
“He was an inspiration during the dark years of the Second World War, serving his country as loyally as he was to me before and after.”
Michael Connarty MP, who helped Jim get Roy’s certificate, said: “The contributions to the war effort came in many forms, as the story of Jim Love’s dog Roy illustrates.
“It was great the MoD were able to confirm Roy’s service and produce a certificate to commemorate the contribution of one of the many animals that were unsung heroes of the Second World War.”
There is some debate over the role that dogs played in World War Two.
In 1945, a collie named Rob was awarded the Dicken medal, the animalequivalentof the Victoria cross, but it was recently claimed that the dog’s daring parachute jumps had been a hoax.