October 8, 2014

Newfoundland war hero

Sergeant Gander: A Canadian Hero
by Robyn Walker

Gander was a large Newfoundland dog who served as mascot for The Royal Rifles army regiment. The regiment was sent on a futile mission to protect Hong Kong from Japanese attack during the Second World War. It was there that Gander sacrificed himself to save the lives of seven Canadian soldiers. 

Though Sergeant Gander is a book about a canine hero, it is really about the Battle of Hong Kong. It describes the defenses on the island, the commanders in charge, the movement of the troops and the ultimate surrender. The book ends with the fight for Gander's recognition - he was ultimately awarded the Dickin Medal - and a chapter about other animals who served in war.

Extensive notes, appendices, and bibliography round out a well-researched novel.

Working Like a Dog: The Story of Working Dogs through History
by Gena K. Gorrell

A chapter devoted to dogs in war will interest all those who were touched by Gander's story. As well, this book describes all manner of working dogs who help catch criminals, sniff out drugs, find lost people, and act in movies.

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