Denton and Reddish MP, Andrew Gwynne, has pledged his support for the construction of a new national memorial to honour military working dogs.
This memorial will be constructed on site and has the support from members of the Army, Navy and Royal Air Force, and would be based in Brynford, North Wales.. The mausoleum will cost around £150,000 to build and will feature four bronze statues who will guard over the plaques commemorating the work of the Armed Forces service animals who have served with distinction.
The four dogs guarding over the mausoleum will be based upon four dogs who served with distinction. The first will be of Buster who died in 2015 aged 13. He served in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Iraq – sniffing out ordnance and booby traps before they could kill British service personnel. On retirement Buster became the mascot of the RAF Police.
Another dog to be immortalised in bronze will be Theo, who died of a broken heart after his owner Lce Cpl Liam Tasker was shot dead in Afghanistan by the Taliban in 2011. Theo was only 22 months old, suffered a fatal seizure just hours after his master’s death and was posthumously awarded the PDSA Dickin Medal for bravery – the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross.
The other bronze will go to Judy. Judy served on the Yangtze River in World War Two and even survived a pirate attack before becoming a Japanese POW. The final plinth will be occupied by Air Dog Lucky, who tracked insurgents through the jungles of Malaya during Malayan Emergency.
Both Lucky and Judy survived their service and were awarded the PDSA Dickin Medal for bravery. A fund-raising drive is now on to build the memorial following the granting of charity status to the National Military Working Dogs trust.
Those wishing to donate to this cause can do so by making a cheque payable to the NMWDM, to Pet Funeral Services, Brynford, Holywell, CH8 8AD.
Andrew Gwynne said:
“The outstanding bravery of the military service dogs over the years has gone unrecognised for too long. I was a pleasure to pledge my support for this new national memorial.
“At the event I was able to hear some of the truly heroic acts these working dogs have done to protect our Armed Forces. I know that this memorial will mean a great deal to dog handlers or those with military connections. The mausoleum will be a fitting tribute to our military dogs and I look forward to its completion.”
Representative from NMWDM, Emma Ward, said:
“The new national memorial is well overdue and look forward to being able to commemorate the service dogs who protected our Armed Forces over many decades.
“The stories of Buster, Theo, Judy and Lucky demonstrate just why a national memorial is needed. These dogs were dedicated to their partners and would do anything to ensure that their Armed Forces partners were kept safe.
“We have seen a fantastic response from the Armed Forces who are on board with the project. We are now in the process of raising the funds needed to complete the construction of mausoleum and would be grateful for donations – no matter what their size – to help us in commemorating our service animals.”
Flight Sergeant Michael Barrow RAF Police said:
“Many thousands of dogs have served with the Armed Forces throughout many conflicts. They are a great force multiplier and have saved lives in various guises.
“To finally have them and their contribution recognised is superb. The design and location of the memorial are both stunning and it’s unveiling will be a great spectacle. I am looking forward to seeing the completed design and being able to pay respect to all Military Working Dogs.”