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DATE OF DM ACTION: 1945 London.
Rex, an Alsatian, was one of 14 dogs employed during the Second World War to find people buried under their houses and other debris during the attacks on London. In January 1945, before the completion of his training, he was thrust into action in Lambeth when a bombing raid destroyed a row of houses. Whilst being led over debris, Rex showed signs that he had found someone, but due to his lack of experience, he was moved away.
However, the men saw he was clearly agitated when pulled away and began scratching violently at the ground. They decided to dig with him and discovered warm blood. After a long search, two people were found, though sadly deceased. In March 1945, he was sent to the site of a still burning factory. Rex was instructed to scour the section that was not burning. This he did and gave indication at several places and rescues were completed. He then moved to the burning parts but was swiftly moved when there was a risk of collapse. Rex refused to move showing incredible bravery.
One of the final acts of bravery in the war was a block of flats at Stepney where several bodies were found. Even after the war, he showed more bravery. In 1947 when the William Pit collapsed at Whitehaven, Cumbria. In total 104 lives were lost, but six bodies were not recovered. On 19th August Rex, along with another Dickin Medal recipient Jet, were sent in. They helped recover the missing bodies. Rex is unique in being the only Dickin Medal recipient who had not completed his training.
For outstanding good work in the location of casualties in burning buildings. Undaunted by smouldering debris, thick smoke, intense heat and jets of water from fire hoses, this dog displayed uncanny intelligence and outstanding determination in his efforts to follow up any scent which led him to a trapped casualty.
BURIAL LOCATION: PDSA CEMETERY, ILFORD, ESSEX.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM, LONDON.
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