Monday, 12 November 2007

Unsung hero

In this time of remembrance, let us have a thought for all those brave animals which in their way contributed to the war effort. Here is the story of Stubby who was adopted by the 102nd Infantry, 26th (Yankee) Division, at Yale Field, New Haven, CT, in the spring of 1917. It is not known where he came from or what his pedigree was, but he appeared to be several weeks old at the time of his arrival. Throughout his service, his caretaker was J. Robert Conroy. In July 1917, he was smuggled aboard the S.S. Minnesota at Newport News, VA, and sailed to France with his unit. Following winter training of his unit, Stubby went to the front and by February 1918, he was in the trenches. Fitted with his own gas mask, Stubby underwent several gas attacks and was adept at warning the troops when gas was approaching their positions. On April 20, 1918, he was wounded in the left foreleg by a shell fragment during the Battle of Seicheprey. He earned one wound stripe and three service stripes. He participated in 17 engagements in four World War I offensives. After the Armistice, Stubby met President Woodrow Wilson when the President visited the 102nd Infantry regiment in France on Christmas Day 1918. When Stubby's unit returned to the United States in 1919, the dog was again smuggled aboard ship for the return trip. Upon his return home, he was made a life member of the American Legion, the American Red Cross and the YMCA. Stubby died in 1926, and his remains were preserved with technical assistance from the Smithsonian Institution. A plaster cast was made of his body, his skin was mounted on the cast, and his cremated remains were interred within the cast. For many years, he was on display at the National Red Cross Museum. On May 22, 1956, his master, J. Robert Conroy, presented Stubby to the Smithsonian. Included with the gift were a brass-studded collar, a leather harness, a scrapbook containing the history of Stubby, and a chamois blanket embroidered by women from the village of Chateau Thierry ( Marne region ) with the flags of the Allies and decorated with various badges and medals.
Stubby is one of many heroes.


jmb said...

Lovely post Eurodog. I guess there are not to many animals involved now (or maybe there are, I don't know)in wartime activities but there were lots of them in the First World War, especially horses and donkeys and more dogs too.

VioletsVintage said...

Wonderful post. I forget about the service dogs and the dogs who do rescue work too. This post was a nice reminder.

Eurodog said...

There are many more stories about heroic dogs and I will write about them sometime. And yes there are many dogs on active duty today.
As a small country, Belgium has 3 dogs working in Afghanistan at present. I met them before they left. They are all three Malinois shepherd dogs.
Also think as VV said of all the dogs who do rescue work. Remember the dogs who seek out bedbugs as I mentioned in a previous post.
I think the whole dog world is fascinating.
A little story on this: once when I flew into JFK with one of my daughters who was about 6 at the time and as we were waiting for our luggage to come through, a woman in an official uniform with a Beagle came up to us and asked us where we had come from. My daughter was absolutely fascinated by the cute doggy. I was unconfortable as the dog started sniffing my shoulderbag. I was asked to empty out my bag there and then. I got seriously concerned. The woman asked if I had any "items of food". Travelling with a young child, I had a supply of apples and biscuits and small cartons of fruit juice. I was asked to walk over to the incinerator with her to have them "exterminated". My daughter never got to pat the dog.

Rebecca Taunton said...

A great post ED. I tend to forget about the animals that were affected by war. Take, for example, the number of horses that were "killed in action" in WWI.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

What a wonderful story.

Winchester whisperer said...

That's a great story, ED. There's a memorial to the animals killed at war half way up Park Lane which is very moving.

Eurodog said...

I shall write about it sometime.

Flowerpot said...

Darling Stubby. What a hero. Well done ED - another great post and very timely (she says, being days late herself!).