To honour military dogs who have saved lives, a new national memorial is to be constructed in Flintshire, North Wales, with support from members of the Army, Navy and Royal Air Force.
Estimated to cost around £150,000, fundraising is currently underway so that work on the National Military Working Dog Memorial (NMWDM) – based at the Pet Cemetery in Brynford – can begin.
The mausoleum will feature four bronze statues that will guard over the plaques commemorating the work of the Armed Forces service animals who have served with distinction.
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 interest we have had from the local community has been extraordinary. But we have also 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.”
The statues will be based on four dogs who served with distinction, including Buster, an RAF Police detection dog who died in 2015 aged 13. Buster served in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Iraq searching for ordnance and booby traps, and on retirement he was made a mascot of the RAF police.
Another dog is Theo who suffered a fatal seizure just hours after his owner, Lce Cpl Liam Tasker was shot dead in Afghanistan by the Taliban in 2011. Theo was just 22 months old and is said to have died from a ‘broken heart’. He was posthumously awarded the PDSA Dickin Medal for bravery.
The other two statues immortalise Judy, who served on the Yangtze River in World War Two and even survived a pirate attack before becoming a Japanese POW, and Air Dog Lucky who tracked insurgents through the jungles of Malaya during Malayan Emergency. Both dogs survived their service and were awarded the PDSA Dickin Medal for bravery.
Emma adds, “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.”
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 its 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.”
The National Military Working Dogs Trust has now been granted charity status and you can donate towards the fund via cheque, made payable to the NMWDM, to Pet Funeral Services, Brynford, Holywell, CH8 8AD. For more information, please email email@example.com
The charity also has the support of Rt. Hon. David Hanson MP who will be hosting a special launch event in the Houses of Parliament later today to secure further support from the UK Government.
Rt. Hon. David Hanson MP said, “When I first heard of this memorial I was struck that it has taken this long for someone with the dedication and passion to see it come into being. The work of all those making this national memorial become a reality is truly inspiring.
“I have arranged an event in Parliament and invited the Secretary of State for Defence to attend. I hope the Government will see what an excellent plan this is and support it to the fullest.
“Brynford is such a beautiful part of the country and I cannot think of a more fitting place for a new national monument to be built.”