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Paradogs of WWII Found Jumping a "Piece of Meat"

Posted on Wednesday, 31 July 2013 11:56AM by Andi Godfrey

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“13 - Lucky for Some” is a new book that tells the story of the dogs that were trained to parachute over enemy lines during World War II.

Author, Andrew Woolhouse spent five years researching the 13th (Lancashire) Parachute Battalion where they were asked to train dogs which could be dropped into Normandy for the D-Day Landings.

Lance Corporal Ken Bailey from Liverpool was put in charge of the training, possibly because he had a veterinary background, and he had carefully documented his progress.

The dogs were given minimal food and water before a parachuting exercise and the handlers carried meat in their pockets to encourage the dogs to follow them out of the plane.

Lance Corporal Bailey describes how on a ‘dummy’ run he jumped out of a plane with dog, Reena.  She landed 80ft before him and while looking a little bewildered was relaxed and unharmed.  He called to her and immediately she turned towards him with her tail wagging vigorously.

Bing, an Alsatian collie cross was not as fortunate. After parachuting in Normandy he had to be retrieved from a tree by the soldiers. A few months later he was sent on a mission with fellow paradog Monty, when they flew into Germany as part of Operation Valley.

Eventually Bing was returned to his original owner Betty Fetch and awarded the Dickin Medal, the animal equivalent to the Victoria Cross.

The paradogs were trained to be the ‘eyes and ears’ of the soldiers and would freeze at any unexpected sound.  They were trained to withstand loud noise and were able to detect the smell of explosives.

Andrew Woolhouse says that his fascinating book would not have been possible without the help of Lieutenant Ellis “Dixie” Dean, from Formby, who served in the battalion but died last year.


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