A tribute to all the dogs that have served with our Armed Forces

Our curated collection of stories

It's vital to War Dogs Remembered that we raise awareness of the role that dogs have played whilst in active service. Therefore we feel it our duty to share stories of dogs throughout history that have been in the armed forces. Due to the non-political and international nature of what we do, we also share stories of dogs who have served with forces of all nationalities.

Please note that often stories are sent into us by our supporters, and therefore have been collected from a number of sources. These stories have been shared here, with attribution if available, and no copyright infringements are intended. Please contact us if you have any concerns.
Second World War

He became the heroic mascot of the Free Norwegian Forces during the Second World War, and became a symbol of Norwegian freedom during the war.
Bought by Captain Erling Hafto, the master of the Norwegian ship Thorodd, he was taken to sea from an early age.

At the onset of the Second World War, Thorodd was drafted into the Royal Norwegian Navy as a coastal patrol vessel, based in Hammerfest, and Bamse was enrolled as an official crew member on 9 February 1940. Bamse lifted the morale of the ship's crew, and became well known to the local civilian population. In battle, he would stand on the front gun tower of the boat, and the crew made him a special metal helmet. His acts of heroism included saving a young lieutenant commander who had been attacked by a man wielding a knife by pushing the assailant into the sea, and dragging back to shore a sailor who had fallen overboard.

However, his duties during the war also included roles more logistical in nature. One of Bamse's tasks in Scotland was to round up his crew and escort them back to the ship in time for duty or curfew. To do this, he travelled on the local buses unaccompanied, and the crew bought him a bus pass which was attached to his collar. Bamse would wander down to the bus stop at Broughty Ferry Road and take the bus down to Dundee. He would get off at the bus stop near his crew's favourite watering hole - the Bodega Bar - and go in to fetch them. If he could not locate his friends he would take the bus back to base.

Bamse died on the dockside at Montrose on 22 July 1944. He was buried with full military honours. Hundreds of Norwegian sailors, Allied servicemen, schoolchildren and townsfolk from Montrose and Dundee attended his funeral. His grave site in the sand dunes has been looked after by local people. The Royal Norwegian Navy holds a commemorative ceremony every ten years.

Bamse was posthumously awarded Norges Hundeorden on 30 September 1984 for his war service. In 2006, he was also awarded the PDSA Gold Medal (sometimes known as the "animals' George Cross") for gallantry and devotion to duty, the only World War II animal to have received this honour.On 17 October 2006, HRH The Duke of York unveiled a larger than life sized bronze statue of Bamse, made by Scottish sculptor Alan Herriot, on Montrose's Wharf Street.
Modern Day Conflict

In 2011, US Special Forces soldiers were in Iraq on a top secret mission, using military dogs to sniff out bombs and potential enemy soldiers hiding underground. Cairo, a Navy SEAL–trained Belgian Malinois, was selected from a number of other qualified candidates for this very important mission.

Working tirelessly night after night, Cairo needed to sniff the perimeter of a compound that was surrounded with barbed-wire fences. It was most likely booby-trapped or armed with guards, and Cairo was trained to attack enemies on command. Navy SEAL dogs are equipped with vests, which include a parachute and night vision goggles. Fully equipped with the newest technology, Cairo helped the soldiers succeed in an intense mission that made him famous around the world: finding Osama bin Laden. Now retired, Cairo has been adopted by a family who has a beagle as his playmate. Cairo helps put groceries away, carrying bags from the car to the house.  Today, we remember Buster, a springer spaniel who served with British forces as an arms and explosive search dog,

Widely believed to have completed more tours than any other military dog, he gave advanced warning of bombers and hidden IEDs (improvised explosive devices). He also took a leave in cheering up the troops, says his handler. 'I'd find some of the soldiers on the cot beds with him, just chatting away. They felt they could confide in him and it wouldn't be going anywhere else." He also made friends with local Afghans when he went out on patrol. "We soon had a long train of children in tow - like a canine Pied Piper, Buster drew in his crowd and entertained them," says Flt Sgt Barrow. His work in sniffing out bombs and booby traps before they could kill British service personnel means that he saved a huge amount of lives in Bosnia, Afghanistan and other war-zones around the world. To reward his years of hard work, Buster was given the honour of becoming the official lifetime mascot of the RAF Police.