Heroic WWII Canine Service Member Receives Posthumous Award
Working dogs have long been essential elements to war stories of days gone by, and the story of Chips, a German Shepherd/Collie/Husky Mix during his days of service in World War II are no exception. And now, Chips has been given Great Britain’s most noble and prestigious medal for animal bravery, though sadly, it is posthumously.
Chips was an American service dog who attacked a German gun nest that was hidden in World War II. He bravely found the nest and prevented many lives from being in peril. Chips spent three years in the service, performing honorably and bravely the entire time.
John Wren is the son of the man who donated Chips to the military for the purpose of working in 1942. Wren, who is now 76-years-old, accepted the medal for Chips, who sadly died just seven months after he was honorably discharged from service in 1945. Chips’s obituary said that he’d been donated to the military because he’d bitten the garbage collector.
In 1943, the heroic pup and his handler Private John Rowell were part of an invasion of Sicily, Italy. Chips broke away from Pvt. Rowell during the invasion and ran directly into a machine gun that was shooting down Allied service members.
Chips attacked the machine gun nest, bit the German soldiers manning it and pulled the gun away from the base, while it was still smoking! Pvt. Rowell said that Chips grabbed one of the German soldiers so solidly that the others came out and surrendered in fear of what might happen to them.
Chips suffered injury as well, some burns and scalp wounds, but overall, was fine. He was awarded the Silver Star, a Distinguished Service Cross and a Purple Heart, but though he was due the Dickin medal, controversy about awarding medals to animals prevented it from being presented. Now, according to Director General of PDSA, the veterinary charity sponsoring the ceremony, Chips finally gets the recognition he deserves, even though it’s over seventy years later.
Good job Chips! Well done, and rest nobly in history forever!
More by Lori Ennis