The 'Animals' VC' Awarded to Rip, the Heroic Dog who Aided in Rescuing over 100 Air Raid Victims During the 'Battle of London', up for Auction at Spink in London

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Spink is pleased to announce the sale of the Dickin Medal awarded to the brave canine, Rip, D.M. The lot is expected to fetch between £8,000 and £10,000 when it comes up for sale in Spink's London auction room on the 23rd of April 2009.

Rip, D.M., was a stray dog found homeless and starving after a heavy raid in 1940 by A.R.P. Warden Mr. E. King, who worked at post B132 in Poplar, London, during the Second World War. He was soon adopted as the post's mascot, and acted as an unofficial rescue dog, sniffing out casualties trapped under buildings. During the Battle of London he located more than 100 air raid victims: 'How welcome to the victims must have been the first sounds of those scrabbling paws and shrill terrier yaps, and the first sight of the grinning Tommy Brock face with its merry friendly eyes.' (Animals in War by Jilly Cooper refers).

It was partly due to Rip's success that the authorities decided towards the end of the War to train dogs officially to trace casualties. For his great bravery and valour Rip was awarded both the P.D.S.A. Dickin Medal and the Our Dumb Friends League Blue Cross Medal. Rip wore the Dickin Medal on his collar for the rest of his life. He died in 1948, and was the first of the supreme animal heroes to be buried in the small P.D.S.A. Cemetery in Ilford, Essex, under a headstone that reads 'Rip, D.M., "We also serve", for the dog whose body lies here played his part in the Battle of Britain.'

The Dickin Medal was introduced in 1943 by Mrs. Maria Dickin, the founder of the P.D.S.A., and was awarded to animals displaying conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty whilst serving or associated with any branch of the Armed Forces or Civil Defence Units during World War II and its aftermath. It was awarded 54 times between 1943-49, to 32 pigeons, 18 dogs, three horses, and to one cat. 12 of the recipients are buried at Ilford.

Spink last sold a Dickin Medal in 2004 which was awarded to Commando, a red chequer cock pigeon, for gallantry with the Resistance and Special Operations Executive in France during 1942. It sold for £9,200.

About Spink
Spink is the world's leading auctioneer of coins, stamps, medals, banknotes, bonds, share certificates and autographs, with offices in London, Singapore, New York and Dallas. Since its foundation in 1666, the Spink name has become synonymous with tradition, experience and integrity. Holders of three royal warrants and numerous records for prices achieved at auction, Spink offer an unparalleled range of services to collectors worldwide.


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Emily Johnston
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