Saturday Stories – Freda the War Hero


Michael Marsh | Freda’s Grave | Wikimedia Commons

This week’s true Saturday Dog Story features a Great Dane named Freda, who was adopted by the New Zealand Rifle Brigade stationed in Cannock Chase in Staffordshire during World War I.

It’s unclear how the squad came to meet Freda. Some believe the dog was found on the Western Front during the war and brought back to England, whilst others say she was simply purchased by a member of the squad from a local pet store in the area.

Another rumour is that she was a stray that provided comfort to the squad when grieving for their fallen comrades.

Regardless of her origins, once the squad met her she immediately stole their hearts and was made the unit’s mascot and provided with a full set of rations each meal time. She would stay with them for sometime, although it’s unknown whether she ever entered the front lines or experienced battle.

Sadly Freda passed away in 1918 due to an epidemic of Spanish Flu that killed many members of the squad. She was buried alongside the other members of the squad and was given a headstone that was cared for by local villagers from Cannock Chase. This headstone has been repaired and replaced several times over the years. Today Freda is honoured every year as owners of working dogs are invited to gather at her grave to honour the role played by canines during conflict, appreciate the bravery of military or police dogs, and pay respect to any missed dogs. A lovely tribute!

Read more Saturday Stories HERE.

Chris Green

About the Author: Chris Green manages the office at Bowerland Cottage Holidays and Devon Dogs, using his technical expertise to assist wherever needed. In his spare time he likes playing guitar and bass, and hiking around Dartmoor.

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