We have previously written about Simon, the ship’s cat on board HMS Amethyst, and the only feline holder of the Dickin medal – the animal’s VC. However, there is another cat who was decorated for her courage…
Faith was the tabby and white coloured church cat of St Faith & St Augustine, Watling Street, just to the east of St Paul’s Cathedral. In September 1940 she became restless and insistent on finding a sheltered place for her single kitten, eventually settling in the basement. Three days later the rectory was demolished in a bombing raid. Faith remained guarding her kitten until they were rescued from the rubble of the burning building.
She was later nominated for a PDSA award but did not qualify – as a civilian – for the Dickin medal, so Mrs Dickin caused a special silver medal to be struck and this was awarded in 1945.
Little remained of the church except the tower, the lower part of which was turned into a chapel. A photograph of Faith with a caption praising the ‘bravest cat in the world‘ and certificates from the PDSA and the Greenwich Village Humane League Inc. of New York were placed in the chapel, but it is not known if they are lost, as the church was closed around 1960 and the tower has been incorporated into St Paul’s Cathedral Choir School. Faith’s death, peacefully in her sleep, in September 1948 was reported in The Times (1 Oct. 1948 p. 2) and she was buried in the churchyard.
This photograph shows another cat from the Second World War, ‘Little One’ and his owner, Mrs Day. ‘Little One’ is wearing a NARPAC collar.
According to the original Ministry of Information caption, the National Air Raid Precautions for Animals Committee was ‘an animal lover’s voluntary wartime organisation that ensures that, should he stray in blitz or black-out, he will be returned safely to his owner’.