Cat celebrated for war effort

Simon, a black and white cat who boarded the HMS Amethyst in 1948, was celebrated for his contribution during the war efforts along with other animals who served queen and country. Simon was the only cat during World War 2 to receive the PDSA Dickin Medal, the equivalent of the Victoria Cross for animals, and was celebrated in a memorial at Ilford Animal Cemetery in Essex.

Simon’s efforts during the war were what followed an attack on the HMS Amethyst, killing several crew members, including the captain, with many others injured. Surviving the encounter, Simon emerged days later from the captains cabin licking his wounds and rejoining the remaining surviving crew. After the care of the shipmates and returning to full health, Simon became a valuable member of the team helping protect the ships limited food supply by defending it from rats and pests. The crew were held captive for nearly a third of a year, while their loyal cat continued to help protect the rationed supplies. Simon was hailed as a champion ratter and became company to those captured, offering friendship and companionship.

Unlike most animals during those years, Simon was taken back to Britain, but died in quarantine. His gravestone reads: “Through-out the Yangtse incident his behaviour was of the highest order.”

Source: Daily Mail – Beth Hale – December 2007

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