Glenn, Bing and Ranee, the parachuting dogs of D-Day
During D-day and the battle for Normandy, British airborne forces used parachuting dogs. They were trained to sniff out landmines, booby traps and explosives and to search for friend and foe alike. The dogs wore their own parachutes and were trained to jump out of the plane after bones/treats. It would appear that they were not distressed by the experience and after a few practice jumps they would often exit the aircraft without coaxing. The dogs were trained to jump by not feeding them prior to an operation and then the handler taking a bone or piece of meat with him as he jumped through the door of the aircraft. The dogs would follow and be given the treat once upon the ground.
Cpl Ken Bailey described his jump with Ranee. ‘After my chute opened the dog was 30 yards away and slightly above, Ranee showed no sign of fear, I called out and she immediately turned in my direction and wagged her tail vigorously…the dog touched down 80 feet before I landed, she rolled over once scrambled to her feet and stood looking around. I released her and gave her the feed.’
Bing landed in a tree and had to be fetched down by his handler. Bing survived the war and went on to be awarded the Dicken Medal, the Animals Victoria Cross. Sadly Glenn did not survive, he was killed along with his handler Emile Corteil on D-Day. Glenn is buried with his handler Emile Corteil in the Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery at Ranville. I believe this is the only case where a dog is buried in a CWGC Cemetery.