The Blitz hero with a nose for survivors, Rip the dog's bravery medal could fetch 10,000 pounds

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In 12 months between 1940 and 1941, the plucky mutt combined all the inherited skills of uncertain parentage to rescue more than 100 victims of the Blitz from the air-raid ruins of London.

Then he carried on the good work for another four years until the end of the war.

But what made this tale of a shaggy dog so remarkable was that Rip was never trained for search and rescue - he simply attached himself to a Civil Defence team after being bombed out of his home. Then he mucked in as a sniffer dog solely because he enjoyed it.

His astonishing success rate earned him the rare honour of a PDSA Dickin Medal, the animal equivalent of a Victoria Cross.

It was an accolade he took to his grave when illness and old age finally laid him to rest in 1946, buried beneath a headstone which records that he 'played his part in the Battle of Britain'.

But the medal itself lived on. Now it is being put up for auction, one of only 62 awarded 'for gallantry' to a range of animals including a cat, three horses and 32 pigeons.

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