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17,500 Royal Marines and 1 Dog!

A Shaggy Dog Story

[Royal Marines and D Day by Captain the Reverend D A Farquharson-Roberts RM]

Courtesy, the Crew of LCG(L) 1

I am indebted to Lieutenant Colonel G Perkins RMR for this shaggy dog story and I make no apologies for publishing it. It is well known that 'those who go down to the sea in ships' love animals. I rest my case!

His craft had a mascot. A small mongrel dog named 'Queenie'. Her arrival on board sometime craft's routine and became immune to the noise of the gunfire during practice firings.

In due Course when a shoot was on, she would rush from one gun as it fired to the other, then stand and look as if to say 'It's your turn now.'

Although all pets were ordered ashore with the approach of D-Day, this order was somehow missed by LCG(L) 1 and 'Queenie' sailed for Normandy.

Sometime after D-Day, Corporal Bill Deardon, a member of LCG(L) 1's detachment was on leave from the craft, whilst she was undergoing repairs following action in Normandy.

During his leave he found himself in contact with a newspaper reporter from the Leicester Evening Mercury. The reporter was very keen to get a story from Corporal Deardon about Normandy and several beers later he was duly told of an accident which befell 'Queenie'.

LCG(L) 1 had a chummy craft in LCG(L) 2 and when circumstances allowed the two craft would move alongside each other to enable exchange visits to take place between the crews.

On one such occasion 'Queenie' crossed to LCG(L) 2 to pay a visit and was nearly left behind. When being passed back as the craft were separating she fell between the widening gap into the sea. She paddled about frantically for some time and was eventually hauled aboard.

The story was not only published in the Leicester newspaper, but also made the Sunday Nationals.

Corporal Deardon was soon identified as the originator and back on board received a terrible ragging. An argument then arose as to the timing of the incident. No one was exactly certain if it had happened early on in Normandy or if it had occurred on an exercise in Studland Bay.

Edwina Mountbatten. When the WWII started, after a visit to the States, Lady Mountbatten decided to raise funds for the British Red Cross and St. John’s Ambulance Brigade. She was appointed as superintendent-in-Chief of the St John’s Ambulance Brigade serving extensively with the Brigade in 1942. The following year, Edwina was awarded a CBE, and in 1946, she was made a Dame Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (DCVO).

Sometime later the Commanding Officer received a letter from Lady Edwina Mountbatten, then President of the RSPCA, saying that the Society wished to present a medal to the ship in recognition of 'Queenie's' rescue.

The Commanding Officer decided to inform Her Ladyship that there was some doubt as to whether the incident had in fact happened in Normandy or at Studland Bay. A reply came back stating that it did not matter where the event happened, nor the timing, the rescue was the important factor.

Subsequently Corporal Deardon was summoned to the Wardroom and given a large package containing an enormous medal inscribed:

HM LCG(L) 1. For great gallantry in rescuing a dumb animal from the deep.
Edwina Mountbatten. President RSPCA

Corporal Deardon was offered the medal to display on the mess deck but he declined, stating that he had had enough ragging about the whole episode without asking for more. The medal was therefore left on display in the Wardroom.

"Queenie' was later taken to London by one of the Detachment, where she stayed and she never returned to the craft.

LCG(L) 1 was sunk at Walcheren and regrettably the medal was lost.

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