'Heroic' WWII dog who comforted captured soldiers honoured 73 years after death

Ellen Manning
·3-min read
Peggy the Bull Terrier was adopted by Scottish soldiers during the Second World War and boosted their morale. (Picture: Gordon Highlanders Museum)
Peggy the Bull Terrier was adopted by Scottish soldiers during the Second World War and boosted their morale. (Picture: PDSA/Gordon Highlanders Museum)

A dog who comforted Scottish soldiers while they were imprisoned during the Second World War has been recognised with a posthumous commendation.

Bull terrier Peggy was found as an abandoned puppy in Malaya by soldiers from the 2nd Battalion Gordon Highlanders who had been taken prisoner.

They kept her and even shared their rations with her so she didn’t go hungry, while Peggy hunted for rats that they could add to their meagre rations of rice.

She was eventually freed along with members of the Battalion on VJ Day on 15 August, 1945, and her bond with the soldiers was so strong that they refused to travel back to Scotland without her.

“Heroic” Peddy is now receiving a posthumous PDSA commendation with a special ceremony at the Gordon Highlanders Museum in Aberdeen.

The award recognises Peggy’s dedication to the soldiers as they fought Japanese forces, including boosting their morale during the three-and-a-half years they spend imprisoned in Thailand carrying out hard labour.

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Stewart Mitchell, a volunteer historian at the museum, who nominated Peggy for the award, said: “Throughout the whole duration of their imprisonment, with the men in a seemingly hopeless situation, just struggling to survive another day with no end in sight, Peggy’s presence boosted their morale.

“Right up until her death in 1947, the Regiment demonstrated a continued recognition and gratitude to her with her grave, at the Bridge of Don Barracks, Aberdeen, being marked by a granite memorial.

“This was later relocated to a prominent position in the grounds of the new Regimental HQ which is now the Regimental Museum and is a continuing symbol the shared loyalty and affection between the soldiers and Peggy.”

Gordon Highlanders Museum Historian Stewart Mitchell , who nominated Peggy for the award, with PDSA vet Fiona Gregge and bull terrier Billy, who accepted it on Peggy's behalf. (Picture: PDSA/Richard Frew/Newsline Media)
Gordon Highlanders Museum Historian Stewart Mitchell , who nominated Peggy for the award, with PDSA vet Fiona Gregge and bull terrier Billy, who accepted it on Peggy's behalf. (Picture: PDSA/Richard Frew/Newsline Media)

Peggy was presented with her PDSA Commendation by PDSA Vet Fiona Gregge and fellow Bull Terrier Billy attended the presentation to receive the award on Peggy behalf.

Fiona said: “Peggy’s remarkable story has touched all of us here at PDSA.

“The PDSA Commendation recognises the outstanding devotion that animals display and celebrates the amazing ways they enrich our lives. It is clear that the soldiers drew a great amount of strength from Peggy’s unwavering loyalty and friendship during what was a deeply traumatic time in their lives.

“The fact the Gordon Highlanders refused to board their ship home unless Peggy could sail with them speaks volumes about the bond that was formed. Peggy was a truly exceptional animal and she is a worthy recipient of this award.”

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