Gunner one of the animal heroes of war

Today we reflect and remember the men and women who served our country, and the animals who stood beside them. Lest We Forget.

This photo shows Leading Aircraftman Percy Leslie Westcott with a stray dog. Airmen rescued the dog after an air raid in Darwin in 1942. He was traumatised and suffering from a broken leg.

The medical team were only able to treat soldiers with a name and serial number, so Westcott pronounced that the name was Gunner, and serial number 0000. From that moment, Gunner became a beloved and important part of the Air Force.

Gunner showed a remarkable ability to detect aircraft before they even appeared on the radar. His agitation, whining and jumping would raise the alarm of an impending attack, giving troops time to act. He was so reliable that Westcott was given a portable air raid siren to activate if Gunner detected approaching planes.

Westcott was later posted to Melbourne, but Gunner stayed with the Air Force in Darwin. Today he is remembered as one of the animal heroes of war.

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