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Friday, November 11, 2011

Regimental Mascot Sgt. Gander – Canadian War Hero!

Regimental Mascot Sgt. Gander: Brave Newfoundland Dog!

Brave Dog,Regimental Mascot Sgt.Gander was immortalized for his heroic acts during WW II. Look closely at the Hong Kong Veterans Memorial Wall, in Ottawa,and you will see the name of a very special dog inscribed alongside the men who fell in battle -  Regimental Mascot Sgt.Gander. Here is the story of a puppy n0amed Pal.image Brave Dog Sgt Gander War Hero

Regimental Mascot Sgt. Gander: A Puppy Named Pal

Gander began life as a puppy named Pal with his family in Gander, Newfoundland. As he grew, Gander spent more and more time at the airport with soldiers who were assigned there. Gander grew to massive proportions,which sometimes caused him to be mistaken as a black bear. When Gander accidentally scratched a child's cheek, his family sought a way to avoid their beloved puppy being put down.

Regimental Mascot Sgt. Gander: Gander Gets His Stripes

The Royal Rifles of Quebec City,stationed at Gander willingly adopted him as their mascot. His official name then became Regimental Mascot Sgt. Gander,and he wore his regimental stripes with pride on his harness. Gander’s new life with the Rifles covered many miles, ultimately ending in 1941 at the battle of Lye Mun on Hong Kong Island.

Regimental Mascot Sgt. Gander: Pal Defends His Pals

During his time as the Royal Rifles' mascot, Gander proved his value more than once. There are at least three documented instances of Gander protecting the troops. The first: a wave of attackers landed on the beach,and Gander rushed  them barking and charging at their legs. The second:one night, a group of injured Canadians lay on the road, when a group of Japanese soldiers advanced towards them, Gander flew at them, causing them to change direction.

Regimental Mascot Sgt.Gander: A Final Heroic Act

Gander's last heroic act would cost him his life. A group of soldiers commanded by Captain Gavey were pinned under heavy fire by the Japanese,and unable to move. The Japanese lobbed a grenade at them.Gander ran forward, seizing the live grenade in his jaws, then ran toward the Japanese lines. Gander died in the explosion, but saved the lives of several wounded Canadian soldiers.

Regimental Mascot Sgt.Gander: Heroic Actions Awarded Dickin Medal

Gander's heroic actions were memorialized for eternity when he was posthumously  awarded the Dickin Medal for "acts of conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in wartime." The prestigious Dickin Medal is awarded by the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA),an animal veterinary charity, in the United Kingdom.Then in 2009,the soldiers he fought alogside made sure Gander's name was inscribed on the Hong Kong Veterans Memorial Wall, in Ottawa.

The inscription on Gander's Citation for Bravery reads as follows:

For saving the lives of Canadian Infantrymen during the Battle of Lye Mun on Hong Kong Island in December 1941. On three documented occasions “Gander” the Newfoundland mascot of the Royal Rifles of Canada engaged the enemy as his regiment joined the Winnipeg Grenadiers, members of Battalion Headquarters “C” Force and other Commonwealth troops in their courageous defence of the Island. Twice “Gander’s” attacks halted the enemy’s advance and protected groups of wounded soldiers. In a final act of bravery the war dog was killed in action gathering a grenade. Without “Gander’s” intervention many more lives would have been lost in the assault.

Gander's medal is on permanent display in the Hong Kong section of the Canadian War Museum.


1 comment:

  1. The newfie posed like a soldier too. He didn't even smile at the photo.


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