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See some of the 67 animals who've been handed the Dickin Medal for bravery

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A retired US Marine Corps dog has been honoured with a top bravery award after she protected the lives of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Lucca will receive the PDSA's Dickin Medal, the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross, at a ceremony in London on Tuesday.

The 12-year-old German Shepherd, who lost a leg while on duty, successfully completed more than 400 separate missions during six years of active service.

image copyrightPA
image captionLucca also earned an American Purple Heart for her bravery

Since its introduction in 1943, the Dickin Medal has been awarded to 31 dogs, including Lucca, 32 World War Two messenger pigeons, three horses and one cat.

Here's a look back at some of the heroic animals awarded for their bravery.


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Beauty was honoured for helping to locate buried air raid victims while serving with a PDSA Rescue Squad during World War Two.

The wire hair fox terrier received the Dickin Medal on 12 January 1945.

Olga, Upstart and Regal

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The three police horses were awarded the medal for their time on patrol duty in London on separate occasions during the war.

After being showered with debris when a flying bomb exploded nearby, Upstart (pictured centre above) was praised for quietly staying on duty with his rider controlling traffic until the incident had been dealt with.

The horses received their awards on 11 April 1947.

GI Joe

image copyrightPDSA

Pigeon USA43SC6390, also known as GI Joe, is credited with making the most outstanding flight by a USA Army Pigeon in World War Two.

Making a 20-mile flight in the same number of minutes, it brought a message which saved the lives of at least 100 Allied soldiers from being bombed by their own planes.

The bird was awarded in August 1946.


image copyrightPDSA

Simon is the only cat to have ever received the Dickin Medal, which was awarded posthumously 1949.

He served on HMS Amethyst getting rid of rats but was wounded by a shell blast.

The PDSA says Simon's behaviour throughout the incident was of "the highest order".


image copyrightPDSA

New York police dog Appollo received the Dickin Medal on behalf of all the search and rescue dogs at Ground Zero and the Pentagon following the terrorist attack on 11 September 2001.

"Faithful to words of command and undaunted by the task, the dogs' work and unstinting devotion to duty stand as a testament to those lost or injured," said the PDSA.


image copyrightPDSA

In March 2003, arms and explosives search dog Buster found an arsenal of weapons and explosives hidden behind a false wall in a property linked with an extremist group in Iraq.

The springer spaniel is thought to be responsible for saving the lives of service personnel and civilians.

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