Simon, “Able Seacat,” Recipient of the Dickin Medal
I was reading a story the other day about Lucca, a military working dog, who saved the lives of many soldiers in Afghanistan but lost a leg doing so. Lucca was honored with the prestigious Dickin Medal for his actions.
As I was researching the Dickin Medal (I had never heard of it), I came across the story of a cat, Simon, who also received the medal.
In 1948, Simon was found wandering around in Hong Kong while the HMS Amethyst, a ship in the Royal Navy, was in port there. One of the Amethyst‘s sailors smuggled him on board, but in no time he won over the hearts and minds of the entire crew. His specialty was ridding the ship of rats, and he became well-known for leaving “presents” of dead rats in crew members’ bunks and for sleeping in the Captain’s cap.
Then in 1949, the Amethyst was involved in the Yangtze Incident. She was fired upon by the Chinese during a civil war between the Chinese nationalists and the Chinese communists. She took a direct hit near the captain’s quarters, mortally wounding the captain, and Simon was badly wounded. He was not expected to survive. He did survive, however, and was soon back at work.
He received numerous awards, to include the Dickin Medal, for “surviving injuries from a cannon shell, raising morale, and killing off a rat infestation during his service.”
You can read more about Simon here. Yes, it seems he was one heck of a “Seacat.”