Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Sheepdog and Master's Heroics Are Remembered

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Sheepdog and Master's Heroics Are Remembered

Article excerpt

Byline: Brian Daniel Northumberland reporter

ASHEEPDOG and its master's heroics in saving airmen who crashed in Northumberland hills in the Second World War have been remembered 70 years on.

Dog Sheila and shepherd John Dagg were involved in two rescues in the Cheviot Hills, with the canine later the first civilian pet to be given a celebrated medal.

Their efforts have now been remembered 70 years on from one of the rescues.

Sheila and John's first mission was on January 16, 1942, when a RAF plane was returning to base in Yorkshire following a night bombing mission over Germany.

The aircraft's communications and navigation aids were not working.

When the pilot was passing over the English mainland, he encountered very heavy mist, snow and wind. Unable to determine his course with the onboard navigation equipment and unable to call for assistance over his radio, the pilot soon became disorientated in the darkness and poor conditions.

As a result, he flew further north-west than his intended route, and continued heading north until his aircraft was over the Cheviots.

Due to the conditions, he was unaware that he was now over high ground. Very soon, the aircraft crashed into West Hill on a shoulder of The Cheviot.

Local shepherds realised that an aircraft had crashed when they encountered a strong smell of burning on the hills.

John and two other men, with Sheila, headed for the crash scene, where they found that several of the crew had died.

And on December 16, 1944, an American air force plane crashed on Cheviot killing two of the crew, including Sergeant Frank Turner.

The survivors were rescued by Sheila who went on to be awarded the Dickin medal in recognition of her efforts - the first civilian pet to receive the honour.

Her only puppy, Tibbie, was later flown to South Carolina, to live with Sgt Turner's mother. …

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