b. ? d. 1946 London.
DATE OF DM ACTION: 1940 London.
Rip was found as a stray following a heavy bombing raid of Poplar, London in 1940 by Air Raid Warden Mr E. King. He was thrown scraps by Mr King, who expected the dog to leave, but the two struck up a friendship. An owner was never traced for Rip. Mr King worked at post B132 in Poplar, London where Rip was adopted as mascot of the Southill Street Air Raid Patrol. He began acting as an unofficial rescue dog, being used to sniff out casualties trapped beneath buildings, and became the service’s first search and rescue dog.
Rip was not trained for search and rescue work, but took to it instinctively. In twelve months between 1940 and 1941, he found over a hundred victims of the air raids in London. His success has been held partially responsible for prompting the authorities to train search and rescue dogs towards the end of World War II.
Rip was awarded the Dickin Medal in 1945, two years after it was introduced. He would go on to wear the medal on his collar until the day he died. His medal was sold at auction in Bloomsbury, London on 23 April 2009. Medal specialists Spink of London predicted that the medal would sell for £10,000, but at the auction it fetched £24,250, a record price for a Dickin Medal.
Sadly in the autumn of 1946, Rip fell ill and died, having developed dropsy. He then became the first of a number of Dickin Medal winners to be buried in the PDSA Cemetery in Ilford, Essex. His headstone reads “Rip, D.M., “We also serve” – for the dog whose body lies here played his part in the Battle of Britain.” Twelve recipients of the medal are now buried in the PDSA Cemetery.
For locating many air-raid victims during the blitz of 1940.
BURIAL LOCATION: PDSA ANIMAL CEMETERY, ILFORD, ESSEX.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: PRIVATELY HELD.