6th Airborne Para Dogs

Discussion in 'Airborne' started by Ludo68000, Nov 18, 2018.

  1. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Just to add more confusion

    Famous Dogs in History: Heroic Parachuting Dogs of D-Day
    Bing and two Alsatians named Monty and Ranee were chosen to be trained. These three would number among Britain's parachuting dogs during the war, with Ranee being the only female paradog in the war.

    On D-Day, June 6, 1944, three planes carrying the 13th Battalion headed to France. Each plane held 20 men and one dog .......................

    3 planes - 3 dogs makes sense if true - does anyone know how many planes were used to carry 13th Bn on D Day??

  2. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    How many planes were used to carry the 13th Bn on D-Day?

    22 Albemarle out of RAF Brize Norton, 296 Squadron RAF
    21 Dakotas out of RAF Broadwell, 575 Squadron RAF
    2 Stirlings out of RAF Keevil, 299 Squadron RAF

    The general consensus is that 3 aircraft were carrying 13 Para dogs. I only have two at the moment with an anecdote and report for each to be found in the Woolhouse book.

    CN 8 out of RAF Brize Norton under pilot F/L Scott carried 9 men of C Coy and a dog. It took at least 4 runs over the DZ to clear the aircraft due to one incident after another. The dog, reluctant to jump, and his handler were the last ones out.

    CN 324 out of RAF Broadwell piloted by F/L Bristow carried 17 troops of C Coy and an Alsatian. The dog refused to jump and had to be thrown from aircraft by the jump master.

    I'll scan the relevant passages and footnotes tomorrow. What you end up with is yet another variation on the story.

    Regards ...
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2018
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  3. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    Here are the the reports on two of the aircraft carrying 13 Para dogs from the Woolhouse book.

    Page 94 & 95- 13-Lucky For Some.jpg

    In footnote No.8 Ken Bailey, one of the dog handlers, claims he was on CN 8 piloted by Flight Lieutenant Scott. According to him his dog went missing and another was killed. Footnote No.7 speculates that it may have been Bing that was thrown from CN 324 by W/OP Doug Strake.

    Ken Bailey's account is the most extreme scenario of the many reported so far with one dog missing, one killed and Bing the only dog left. Lt-Col Luard's version is somewhat similar with one dog missing, one wounded and Bing, though slightly wounded by mortar fire, survives.

    Also came across the following interesting encounter on June 9th in "Luard's Own" by Major Ellis "Dixie" Dean:

    "Jack SHARPLES and 8 Platoon were close to the crossroads:

    We were dug in on the right of the road leading to Caen in a little orchard. Back in Larkhill, Private Lloyd Neale of the Platoon had been selected as one of the dog handlers and they were attached to the Platoon for the operation. He was in his slit with a dog and I said to him "That's not your dog" and he replied "No I lost him on the drop, this is one the Germans left behind" (In all probability the missing dog was picked up by the Canadian Battalion in 3 Brigade). A few days later Neale called out "We're going to be shelled, sir". I asked him how he knew, "Because the dog's trembling and he was like this last time" Sure enough, over came the shells, all airburst."

    Regards ...

    Edit: Fixed link
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2018
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  4. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron


    German war dogs were picked up in Normandy and Germany. I came across this picture of Fritz on the Australian War Memorial site.

    Fritz - German War Dog 1944.JPG

    The accompanying description is a bit puzzling.

    "England. 1944-08-02
    When a Douglas C47 Dakota aircraft of RAF Transport Command returned from France one of the passengers was a German war dog which was wounded by men of the 6th Air born Division when they stormed Rouville south east of Caen. The dog named Fritz, had apparently been trained to attack anyone with firearms. It was wounded in the leg and taken behind the line where it received first aid treatment from a British Army unit before being flown to England in charge of Parachutist Major J. Varvill. Fritz will be sent to do a course at a British wardogs' school when he recovers from his wound."

    Rouville? Perhaps they meant Ranville. I couldn't find anything on Parachutist Major J. Varvill. Interestingly there was a German war dog named Fritz who was in attendance at the Dickin Medal ceremony for Brian. From the "Brian Identity":

    "The war-dog from Loughborough duly received his DM at the hands of the ex-chief of Coastal Command, Air Chief Marshal Sir Frederick Bowhill, at the charity’s Mayfair HQ on 26 April 1947 (the picture turns up on the internet, universally captioned ‘Bing’). Also present according to press reports were ‘an enemy cat’ who had survived the crash of a Luftwaffe intruder and ‘been adopted by an English family,’ and Fritz an ‘ex-Nazi dog.’[7]"

    Regards ...
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  5. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Reading - 13 Lucky for some .................

    Lance Corporal Ken Bailey (page 42)

    One of the dogs selected from the training school in Hertfordshire was 'Bing' a 2 year old Alsatian-Collie cross. Bing had been called Brian by his civilian owner Betty Fetch

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  6. brithm

    brithm Senior Member

    Good find Cee,

    Found a similar article on 'Airborne Dogs' about Lt-Col. Peter Luard in the Lincolnshire Echo dated 24th August 1944
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  7. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron


    Your quote doesn't come from L/Cpl Ken Bailey whose original article "Parachuting the War Dog" first appeared in a postwar issue of the RAVC Journal (either in 1948 or 1950?). It is actually the author of the book reflecting the prevailing view that Bing and Brian were the same dog. I'm pretty much convinced by the Campbell's research that they were two separate dogs.

    You would think with just three war dogs dropped into Normandy with the 13th Battalion it would be simple, by a process of elimination, to know what happened to each. However, there are so many variations on the story it's hard to know with certainty. Brithm's very interesting article above is another example, though it could very well be the key to sorting it all out.

    It tells you there that Bing is a full Alsatian. The cross-breed could be Brian who was actually an Alsatian/Collie mix rather than an Alsatian/Golden Retriever mix? The missing dog taken back to England by mistake sounds similar to the claim by the commenter on the Daily Mail article (post 10) that a Glider Pilot picked up a dog thinking him a stray and took him home when evacuated. Also it's good to know that Fritz, the German war dog, was adopted and put to good use by the 13th Battalion until wounded.

    Regards ...
  8. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    OK - thanks Cee - I was under the impression that they were the words/thoughts of L/Cpl Bailey

  9. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

    I recently spoke with a chap in America who’s uncle was a C47 pilot. He said on the Rhine Crossing he had British troops in his plane and they had a dog with them. The dog refused to go out the door and came back to the U.K.
    I was sceptical as I thought the dogs were strapped to their handlers.
    However, turns out he had 13th Battalion soldiers in his aircraft and I read previously on this thread the 13th dogs were trained to jump. So it seems the story checks out.

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  10. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    Hi Alex,

    That's good to know as I was looking for confirmation of the dog that refused to jump. Tim put up a document on another thread indicating that one of the two was returned.


    Bing and Monty were the only two dogs that were assigned to jump on the Varsity Drop with the 13th Parachute Battalion. We know from the Woolhouse book that Bing made it to Germany. Usually they would just throw them out if all else failed so Monty must have kicked up a mean fuss. From what I can make out his handler was L/Cpl Ken Bailey.

    Regards ...
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2019
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  11. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

    This chap flew chalk number 136 in serial B4. Not sure if anyone has the stick lists for the 13th? But seems the story checks out.

  12. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron


    As you probably know from the book both Lt. John May (44 Sqdn, 316 TCG) and Lt. Peter Downward, CO Scout Platoon, mention the dogs before takeoff at RAF Wethersfield. According to Lt. Downward he was on the same aircraft which carried both dogs. He was first to jump in his stick and didn't see much of them afterwards. He wrote:

    "I cannot remember the position of the dogs, but they were probably at the rear of the stick so as to avoid disruption to the soldiers should they decide to throw a wobbly as happened on one of the Normandy sticks."

    Two dogs jumping from the same aircraft ...? He also names a Pte. Porrill who played a mouth organ during the flight and a Pte. X, just 18, who had lost his nerve before boarding and was unwilling to take part. Lt. Downward took him aside had a talk about the consequences of refusal and persuaded him to board the aircraft.

    Alex did the the nephew give you the name of his uncle? I should add that I don't think Pilot Lt. John May's aircraft carried the dogs. Among a number of his observations on the activity at RAF Wethersfield before takeoff he noted the two dogs briefly.

    Regards ...
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2019
  13. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

    Hi. The pilot was Meyer.
    Porril was killed attacking an anti aircraft gun just behind A Coy’s HQ area.
    Dogs being with the scout platoon so I guess they could’ve been in the same plane?
  14. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    Thanks Alex,

    There is a write-up with photos and docs on 1st Lt Frederick Meyer on Facebook. His aircraft, Chalk 136, on the Varsity Op was hit in the fuselage by anti aircraft fire as shown in the photo with crew. The dogs aren't mentioned in the article.

    Pilot 1st Lt Fred Meyer & Crew CN 136.jpg

    Regards ...
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2019
  15. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

    Hi cee
    Yes he sent me that photo. They had some wing damage too. Adam Berry one of the co-authors of “ a breathtaking spectacle” has the other pics of the place.
  16. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

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