Animals At War In Normandy
This page is dedicated to the memory of the animals who faithfully served in Normandy during the Second World War.
‘Glen’ served with The Parachute Regiment. He was an Alsation, shepherd dog who served with the 9th Parachute Battalion, 6th Airborne Division and landed in Normandy, France, on D-Day. Both he and his keeper, Private Emile Servais ‘Jack’ Corteil, were killed on the 6th June 1944 by, so called, ‘friendly fire’. A combination of errors led to the mistake after some paratroopers had landed in the wrong location and while making their way towards their objective, an RAF Typhoon pilot mistook them for a German column of soldiers and strafed the paratroopers with anti-personnel mines. ‘Glen’ and 19 year old Private Corteil are buried together in Ranville Commonwealth War Cemetery. Plot IA, Row G, Grave 13. Their epitaph reads:
“HAD YOU KNOWN OUR BOY
YOU WOULD HAVE LOVED HIM TOO
‘GLEN’ HIS PARATROOP DOG WAS KILLED WITH HIM”
‘Blackout’ served with the United States Coast Guard.
He earned three battle stars on his service ribbon; Sicily and Italy in 1943 and then Normandy in 1944. His fellow crew members even provided him with a specially made life jacket.
Known as ‘Brian’ in civilian life, ‘Bing’ was his name while he served with the The Parachute Regiment.
He was an Alsation, Collie cross who served with the 13th Parachute Battalion, 6th Airborne Division and landed on D-Day near Ranville, Normandy, France.
While in Normandy ‘Bing’ was wounded in the neck and eyes. After the war he was awarded the PDSA Dickin Medal (No. 48) for Gallantry. His citation reads:
Brian – Alsatian
Date of Award: 29 March 1947
“This patrol dog was attached to a Parachute Battalion of the 13th Battalion Airborne Division. He landed in Normandy with them and, having done the requisite number of jumps, became a fully-qualified Paratrooper.”
‘Knobby’ served with the United States Coastguard.
He was a Mongrel pup and mascot on a United States Coast Guard Rescue Cutter. On D-Day, and throughout the Normandy campaign, ‘Knobby’ wore his specially made life jacket while the ship’s crew went about rescuing soldiers, sailors and airmen in the English Channel waters.
‘Pete the Pooch, Able Seaman’ served with the United States Coast Guard.
He helped handle many vessels, including the 83 foot cuter he is helping tie up in the photograph, and would jump into the sea to retrieve ropes. ‘Pete the Pooch’ worked in the captured port of Le Havre in Normandy during 1944/45.
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