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VC for dog who sniffed out mobile phones in Afghanistan

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Retired RAF sniffer dog Hertz will receive the PDSA Dickin medal; the human equivalent is the VC.

RAF sniffer dog, Hertz, a 10-year-old German shorthaired pointer has been selected to receive the Dickin medal after becoming the first dog in British military history to be trained to detect electronic communications equipment such as mobile phones and GPS devices.

Retired RAF sniffer dog Hertz will receive the PDSA Dickin medal; the human equivalent is the VC.

Retired RAF sniffer dog Hertz will receive the PDSA Dickin medal; the human equivalent is the VC. Photo: Kirsty O’Connor/PA.

The Dickin medal is the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross (VC). In doing his work he was protecting troops in Afghanistan. He is retired and at the time his handler was Jonathan Tanner who said that Hertz was by far the best dog he had worked with.

Hertz will be formally awarded the medal by the director-general of the PDSA veterinary charity at a ceremony at the Royal Air Force Club in Mayfair. He will become the 74th recipient and join other dogs, pigeons, horses and a cat whose name was Simon. Simon got his medal during the war.

RELATED: WW2 cat hero, Simon, died of cold British weather not his injuries.

Warrant officer Jonathan Tanner, Hertz’s trainer and handler said that he was a “one-off” dog. They were assigned to find mobile devices which were being used to “pass messages that might pose a threat to those inside camp”.

He spent two months training Hertz to sniff out the devices. He said:

“It was a capability that in the British military had never been tried before.”

It worked out really well with the technique proving highly successful. Hertz found more than 100 items. He worked in Camp Bastion and locations throughout Helmand and Kabul over 13 months. He saved many lives.

Hertz was born in Croatia. He joined the RAF as a year-old puppy. And as mentioned, he is described by Tanner as the best dog by far that he has worked with.


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