Monday, June 6, 2016

D Day Dog: Bing

He must have looked a fearsome sight as he parachuted into the heart of occupied Europe.
His keen eyes scoured the battlefield for enemy troops and he was poised to hit the ground running.
It might not have been quite what the Germans were expecting from Britain's D-Day invasion force – but Bing the para-dog played a vital role in liberating France.
He was one of the first dogs to be dropped behind enemy lines with  British paratroopers.
From the moment the two-year-old Alsatian-collie cross put his paws on Normandy soil (albeit after a tangle with a tree) he was ready for action.
Anywhere there was trouble, even after he was wounded by mortar fire, he was there to sniff it out.
And when something didn't  seem quite right, he would freeze and point towards the danger with his nose.
During rest breaks, he kept watch over sleeping British troops; on the move, he pioneered the advance through potential danger zones.
His fearless excursions through perilous terrain and behind enemy lines were credited with saving hundreds of servicemen from ambush, later earning him the PDSA's Dickin Medal, the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross.
Now, for the first time, Bing's story is being told through his own eyes – in a children's book written by a former paratrooper. The Amazing Adventures of Bing the Parachuting Dog chronicles his civilian and military career by recreating some of his wartime tales of doggy derring-do.
Bing, or Brian, as he was then called, was given to the Army at the outbreak of the war when rationing meant six-year-old Betty Fetch and her family, from Loughborough, Leicestershire, could no longer afford to keep him.
After a few practice runs back in Blighty, he leapt into action with the elite 6th Airborne Division over Normandy on June 6, 1944. Heavy anti-aircraft fire raked his plane, and history records that he needed an encouraging boot to propel him landwards.
But once on the ground he lived up to the  Division motto: 'Go to it!'

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