Tag Archives: ww2

Paradogs, the Flying Dogs of War

No matter what you were told as a child, dogs do fly and they did so since 1920. Paradogs, “parachuting dogs”, are the brave military dogs trained to jump off planes with the aid of a parachute. These dogs were specifically trained to perform tasks such as locating mines, keeping watch and warning about enemies.

The first Paradog recorded in history

 Jeff, the mascot of the 120th Colorado Air National Guard, the first dog to jump with a parachute. Source History Daily.
Jeff, the mascot of the 120th Colorado Air National Guard, the first dog to jump with a parachute

Jeff was the mascot of the 120th Colorado Air National Guard, US, and the first dog to jump with a parachute that we know of. He made twelve successful jumps in 1920s.

Parachuting dogs of the British Army during WW2

Believe it or not, British army dogs trained to sniff mines dropped from the skies on D-Day. They were the dogs of the 13th (Lancashire) Parachute Battalion.

Bing, the Alsatian and Collie cross originally named Brian, was an army dog with the 13th Parachute Battalion, part of the 6th Airborne Division, parachuted over Normandy on D-Day on 6 June 1944 - source DailyMail
Bing, the Alsatian and Collie cross originally named Brian, was an army dog with the 13th Parachute Battalion, part of the 6th Airborne Division, parachuted over Normandy on D-Day on 6 June 1944

One such dog was Bing, a 2 year old Alsatian-Collie cross donated to the army.

Unlike the dogs trained during WW1, these dogs were first conditioned to the loud noises made by aircrafts and guns, then the actual parachuting training begun.

Lance Cpl. Ken Bailey, in charge with training the paradogs, wrote:

“After my chute developed, I turned to face the line of flight; the dog was 30 yards away and slightly above. I called out and she immediately turned in my direction and wagged her tail vigorously. The dog touched down 80 feet before I landed. She was completely relaxed, making no attempt to anticipate or resist the landing, rolled over once, scrambled to her feet and stood looking round. I landed 40 feet from her and immediately ran to her, released her and gave her the feed.”

Lance Cpl. Ken Bailey

It is worth remembering that during parachuting training Bailey would carry a 2-pound piece of meat during each jump, as a treat for the dog he trained.

Save a life and you (unknowingly) save countless more.

Antis was an abandoned puppy rescued by two Allied pilots who happened to crash in no-man’s land in January 1940. In only a few months Antis and his rescuer, Václav Robert Bozděch, had become inseparable. Antis soon proved his special gift, his acute hearing sense, the German Shepherd being able to signal enemy aircraft approaching before the air-raid siren even went off.

Antis and Bozděch in front of their bomber - source Aviation Outlet
Antis and Bozděch in front of their bomber – source Aviation Outlet

But it wasn’t until June 1941, when Bozděch did not return from an air bombing mission, that everyone understood the depth of Antis’ attachment for his human friend. The dog refused all food and shelter, not budging from his sentry spot where he was awaiting the return of Bozděch’ fighter plane. Luckily Bozděch returned from the hospital just in time and Antis soon regain his strength.

Antis, Colonel Bozdech and No. 311 Squadron RAF - Source Aviation Outlet
Antis, Colonel Bozdech and No. 311 Squadron RAF.jpg

British allies were the first to use parachuting dogs with their army’s newly formed SAS forces in North Africa and France.

A parachuting dog of WW2 - source Spiegel
A parachuting dog of WW2

The U.S. Army Air Corp also parachuted dogs

The US Army Air Corp began training in Alaska by parachute directly to crash scenes in emergency situations.   Here the Army parachute dogs wore a coat like harness, lined with sheep skin.

US - The Army parachute dogs wore a coat like harness, lined with sheep skin. Source History Daily
US training in Alaska – The Army parachute dogs had a harness, lined with sheep skin

Why do dogs jump from planes? Surely not for the fun of it or for the two pound meat they receive as a reward – but because of the emotional connection they have with their handler. It is this bond that makes them put their handler’s wishes before their own. This everlasting bond that gets them going, even if that means behind enemy lines.

Paradogs are still used today, especially in war combat zones such as Afghanistan, as we will see in a future blog post.

In my latest book, Silent Heroes, I write about the incredible bond between military working dogs, MWD, and their Marine handlers.

Silent Heroes

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Movie Music Monday, Wartime Music, Sentimental Journey via @PatFurstenberg #ww2 #wartime #moviemusicmonday

This year we will celebrate 74 years since World War Two ended, its veteran survivors being in their 80s and 90s. Some of them were dog handlers, such as Marine Corps war dog handler Pvt. Homer J. Finley, Jr. who still remembers his dogs, one of them being Pvt. ‘Jan’, a Doberman Pinscher, a silent hero of war.

One of the most popular songs of WW2 was Sentimental Journey, written by Les Brown in 1944 and first performed by Les Brown and His Band of Renown with Doris Day as vocalist. The song’s release coincided with the end of WW2 in Europe, thus becoming the unofficial homecoming theme for many veterans.

Here is being performed by the First Lady of Song, Queen of Jazz, Ella Fitzgerald:

Sentimental Journey Lyrics

Gonna take a sentimental journey
Gonna set my heart at ease
Gonna make a sentimental journey
To renew old memories
Got my bag, got my reservation
Spent each dime I could afford
Like a child in wild anticipation
Long to hear that all aboard
Seven, that’s the time we leave, at seven
I’ll be waitin’ up at heaven
Countin’ every mile of railroad track
That takes me back
Never thought my heart could be so yearny
Why did I decide to roam
Gotta take that sentimental journey
Sentimental journey home
Sentimental journey

Songwriters: Benjamin Homer / Bud Green / Les Brown
Sentimental Journey lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc


Song lyrics and movie clip are property and copyright of their owners and are provided for educational purposes and personal use only.

The #MusicMonday meme was created by Drew @ The Tattooed Book Geek. You can pick a song that you really like and share it on Monday. I thoroughly enjoyed this blog feature on Mischenko’s lovely blog, ReadRantRockandroll .

What are your thoughts on wartime beloved songs? Do you have a favorite? Let me know in comments below.

Thank you for visiting my website.



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Movie Music Monday, Wartime Classic, WW2, Begin the Beguine, Happy New Year via @PatFurstenberg #HappyNewYear #ww2 #moviemusicmonday

A most beloved war-time classic song, Begin the Beguine was composed by Cole Porter in 1935, turned into a swing by Artie Shaw and band and made famous by Fred Astaire and Eleanor Powell. Their legendary tap dance in the movie Broadway Melody surely caught on.

Begin the Beguine  by Cole Porter – lyrics

“When they begin the beguine
It brings back the sound of music so tender,
It brings back a night of tropical splendor,
It brings back a memory ever green.I’m with you once more under the stars,
And down by the shore an orchestra’s playing
And even the palms seem to be swaying
When they begin the beguine.To live it again is past all endeavor,
Except when that tune clutches my heart,
And there we are, swearing to love forever,
And promising never, never to part.What moments divine, what rapture serene,
Till clouds came along to disperse the joys we had tasted,
And now when I hear people curse the chance that was wasted,
I know but too well what they mean;So don’t let them begin the beguine
Let the love that was once a fire remain an ember;
Let it sleep like the dead desire I only remember
When they begin the beguine.Oh yes, let them begin the beguine, make them play
Till the stars that were there before return above you,
Till you whisper to me once more,
“Darling, I love you!”
And we suddenly know, what heaven we’re in,
When they begin the beguine”

Songwriters: Cole PorterBegin the Beguine lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Memory Lane Music Group (Domestic)

Song lyrics and movie clip are property and copyright of their owners and are provided for educational purposes and personal use only.

The #MusicMonday meme was created by Drew @ The Tattooed Book Geek. You can pick a song that you really like and share it on Monday. I thoroughly enjoyed this blog feature on Mischenko’s lovely blog, ReadRantRockandroll .

What are your thoughts on wartime beloved songs? Do you have a favorite? Let me know in comments below.

Thank you for visiting my website.

Follow this blog:
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