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Foreign News: In Honored Memory

2 minute read

The most respected cat in all Britain was a small, black, white-bibbed torn named Simon. As ship’s cat on board the sloop H.M.S. Amethyst on her heroic voyage down China’s Yangtze River last spring (TIME, May 2), Simon got his white whiskers singed by a Communist shell, his face and legs scratched by shrapnel. But throughout the Amethyst’s cruise, Simon carried on in his billet, caught at least one mouse every day.

When the Amethyst got back to England, Simon was interned for the regulation six months’ quarantine required of animals entering the country, but his grateful nation had not forgotten him. Reporters from far & wide came to see and photograph the solemn hero, and he was promised the Dickin Medal* for heroic animals, to be awarded by London’s Lord Mayor on his release.

Last week, on the eve of getting his medal, Simon took cold, a day later died. In a dark wood coffin draped with the Union Jack, he was buried in a pet cemetery at Ilford, Essex. A wooden marker at his head bore the epitaph: “In Honored Memory of Simon, D.M.”

-Created in 1943 by Britain’s People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals, to honor animal bravery in the armed forces, and named for the dispensary’s founder, Maria Elizabeth Dickin.

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