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 Jet of Iada  

Jet of Iada

Max von Stephanitz

Lieut-Col. Richardson

The Great War 1914-19


Lieut-Col Baldwin

WW2 Guard Dog Training School

PDSA Dickin Medal

PDSA Allied Forces Mascot Club

Jet of Iada

Search & Rescue

The London
Air Raids

PDSA Dickin Medal Award

'William' Pit Disaster

RSPCA Medallion For Valour
and Star of Whitehaven

Jed of Iada
Memorial Column

Jet of Iada Full
Civic Honours

Post War
Dickin Medals

The Cleaver family
a brief history

Iada Kennels

Jet of Iada, the German Shepherd Dog who became the world’s first wartime search & rescue dog, is a story in its own right, a story about a dog with a natural instinct for ‘scenting’ victims buried amongst the rubble of a bomb-destroyed building, an instinct that was to save the lives of many people.

But Jet was only one half a duo that changed the face of wartime search and rescue, the other half being Colonel Baldwin. Whilst others were training dogs to carry first aid to wounded soldiers trapped in no-man’s land, carting ammunition, running messages and laying land lines etc, Baldwin was training his dogs to guard airfields and root out enemy snipers. It was whilst doing the latter that Jet showed his true potential and from this the search and rescue of trapped victims in blitzed buildings was born.

It is also part of a greater story not only about the use of animals during times of conflict, but another page in the Cleaver family history, a history that has been closely associated with the rescue of people in the ‘war’ against a system that allowed poverty and the deprivation of the poor, the sick and the needy. A system that was challenged by Arnold Jeffries Cleaver in his full support of Thomas Agnew in 1883, when Agnew established the Liverpool Children’s Shelter, which went on to become the NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children).

Harris Peugeot Cleaver was like-minded in his challenge to the system, a challenge that was to change the face of child care for ever with the establishment of the Fazakerley Cottage Homes, the first of several that rescued children from the vice-like grip of pauperism and gave them the basis of a better chance in life - a home, a bed, regular cooked meals and an education. From some accounts it wasn’t always the best, but it was far better than they would have had abroad.


Jet of Iada, DM, MFV
watercolour by E Isaacs

JetBustKennelClubJPEG.jpg (34123 bytes)
Life-size bronze bust of
Jet of Iada
cast from the original sculpture by
Edna Rose (1899-1981)

Captain Max von Stephanitz and the
German Shepherd Dog

In an attempt to enhance the virtues of the various regional differences in the German Shepherd Dog, a movement began towards breeding a national shepherd dog that would be recognised as a ‘German Sheepdog’ the result of which was the Phylax Society, formed on the 16th December 1891, by Max Riechelmann and named after his ‘fancy’ dog Phylax von Eulau. However, when Phylax was shown in competition with genuine working
shepherd dogs, layman and expert were agreed that the ‘fancy’ breed was not the way forward, the idea of ‘cosmetic’ beauty being rejected in favour of ‘functional’ beauty.

A former cavalry officer, Max von Stephanitz formed the Der Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde (the SV) on the 22nd April 1899, and from this date it can be truly said that the German Shepherd Dog we know today was ‘born.’ Max von Stephanitz was a man of vision and, using his knowledge of anatomy and movement, which he learnt in the cavalry, he established a ‘grand design’ he wanted breeders to aim for with judging based on angle of bones, proportions and overall measurements. This was followed by a Zuchtbuch (Breed Register) recording all dogs with proof of their origin, which was enhanced 20 years later with the issuing of the Körbuch (Breed Survey Book), a register of dogs considered suitable for breeding based on their physical and mental characteristics. The Körbuch was far superior to the English or American notion of a breed register based purely on show wins.

It wasn’t long before the value of the German Shepherd Dog became apparent to the German police authorities who, in 1901, began using them for their natural guarding instincts, something that Max von Stephanitz was determined to maintain. By 1903 the German Shepherd Dog was being used by the police in many urban areas and the German Government set up a centre for breeding and training them at Grünheide, near Berlin.  top of page


Max von Stephanitz


  Lieutenant-Colonel Edwin H. Richardson, OBE, FZS, and the English Airedales
In Britain Major Richardson had been training war dogs, for use with the Red Cross, as early as the 1890s, and in 1902 he was shown on an Ogden’s cigarette card captioned ‘Rendering First Aid.’ The card showed a photograph of the Major, as an ‘injured’ man, with a collie dog bearing the Red Cross insignia. Richardson’s fellow officers would spend their summers, with their regiments, doing manoeuvres not far from his home on the east coast of Scotland, and although Richardson had no official sanction, the officers would gladly try his dogs under simulated battle conditions as the soldiers trained. Some of the officers were so impressed that they wrote to the War Office asking that the idea be given recognition.

His dogs were used during the Russo-Japanese War in 1904 and in 1910 were the first ever to be used by a British Police force in Hull. They had been tried three years earlier by the North Eastern Railway Company police who had grown tired of continual thefts, arsons and assaults on their officers. The reduction in these and other crimes was significant. They were later used in Glasgow, Nottingham and Liverpool, the latter at one point had 20 of Richardson’s Airedales. By 1912 Richardson and his dogs were world-renowned. Amongst his many patrons were Czar Nicholas of Russia and one regiment, the Hussars of the Imperial Guard, had 23 Airedales, supported by Doberman Pinscher’s and German Shepherd Dogs.

Despite the popularity of the German Shepherd Dog, Richardson’s English Airedales were by far the more favoured breed for use as police and war dogs, a point that was to prove somewhat disillusioning to the German military who used Airedales at the outbreak of WW1, Max von Stephanitz saying "…although shepherd dogs who had been tried out in one special regiment finished all their tests with full honours - English dogs were chosen as War dogs for German rifle battalions…" Airedales had outperformed all other purebreds!  top of page



  The Great War - 1914-19
With the advent of the Great War of 1914-19 War dogs were truly put to the test and passed on all counts as the German military, who had 6,000 dogs ready for immediate use, used the dogs ability to the full on the battlefield as sentry, ambulance and messengers. Although using different species of dogs (Alsatians were popular), the Belgian, Bulgarian, Dutch, French (who did not discriminate on the basis of breed, it was the dog that was important), Russian and Swedish military all had canine units functioning in some capacity during the war, except the British. They all, like the Germans, used dogs for sentry, ambulance, messengers, line layers and as draught dogs carting munitions and weapons.

Major Richardson made several unsuccessful attempts to get the British Government to use dogs but it wasn’t until 1917, at the Battle of Vimy Ridge, France, where two of his dogs, the first to be trained as messengers and sent to the Front with Canadian troops, proved their worth by bringing news of the successful attack on Vimy Ridge, the dogs being used because all telephone lines were broken and visual signaling was impossible. The British Government conceded, the War Office asking Richardson to set up a War Dog School at Shoeburyness. Within a week of being asked, Richardson had sold his home and moved to Shoeburyness where intensive training commenced.  top of page


Major Richardson with some
of his trained War Dogs

A German soldier with one
of Richardson's Airedales

  The Peoples Dispensary for Sick Animals
In a small cellar in Whitechapel, London, Maria Elizabeth Dickin opened the first PDSA (Peoples Dispensary for Sick Animals) in 1917, having been shocked and appalled by the animal suffering she had witnessed on her visits to London’s East End. It was the start of what was to be the ultimate recognition of animal suffering, and deeds of honour, especially for animals directly involved in battlefield conditions.

After the war the dog training school was closed with nothing more being done and, as time would prove, the British had learnt nothing, despite their successes, whilst the German’s learnt everything from their losses. Richardson retired to the life of a country gentleman with an OBE and he had been promoted to half colonel. The popularity and reputation of Richardson’s Airedales began to fade after the war, the German Shepherd Dog seizing the public imagination and it can be said, to this day, never to have waned. It could easily be argued that the first canine film star, the German Shepherd Dog, Rin Tin Tin, played its part in this popularity, the dog, having been found in a trench in France, was taken to America where he became a film star making 26 films for Warner Brothers before he died in August 1932. It wasn’t long before the popularity of the breed began to overtake that of Airedales in Britain helped in part, no doubt, by returning servicemen who brought European breeds home with them amongst whom was Major James Baldwin.  top of page


  Lieutenant-Colonel James Baldwin, DSO+Bar, and the Alsatian Shepherd Dog
During The Great War, Major (later Colonel) James Baldwin served in the army and did in fact work with Richardson at the War Dog School. Baldwin had been breeding livestock, horses, poultry and pigeons etc. and had won with Collies as early as 1900. He was passionate about the German Shepherd Dog and, like Richardson, continued to be involved in breeding during the inter-war years. Baldwin joined the Gloucestershire Regiment in 1914 when he was given a commission going to France in 1915 and it was here that he saw, and bought, his first German Shepherd Dog. The dog served with him in the great Battle of the Somme in 1916 and then to Ypres, in Belgium, where he taught the dog wind scenting.

Baldwin bought several of the best German Shepherd Dogs and sent them home in quarantine. He returned to England in 1918 and formed the Picardy kennels choosing the name Picardy because this was where he bred his first litter whilst waiting to be demobilised. Baldwin’s friend, Colonel J T C Moore-Brabazon, MC, MP, (later Lord Brabazon of Tara) of the Royal Flying Corps, also had a very keen interest in breeding.

In 1919, Moore-Brabazon suggested to Baldwin that they start a club for German Shepherd Dogs, which they called The Alsatian Wolf-dog Club (Alsatian: a native of Alsatia, a region of Eastern France, West of the Rhine), the name being changed in an attempt to overcome the conflict of Deutsche Schäferhunde (German Shepherd). The Club amalgamated with The Alsatian League in 1924 from when it became known as The Alsatian League & Club. To retain the ‘European connection’ for breeding purposes several of the early imports purchased by Baldwin from the Terraqueuse kennel of M Tourtille were, Aussey des Aubepines, followed by Lad of Picardy, Cilla of Picardy and Tosca of Picardy. Moore-Brabazon purchased from the Ponthieu kennels of Madam Godchau, his first acquisition being Deal Ponthieu. By 1920 the breed had been awarded Challenge Certificates from The Kennel Club.

Moore-Brabazon went on into politics as, amongst other things, private parliamentary secretary to (Sir) Winston Churchill at the War Office, with Baldwin concentrating on his breeding kennels becoming an acknowledged expert on the German Shepherd Dog.  top of page


Colonel Baldwin with
Lucky Jim of Picardy
  World War 2 and the formation of the
Guard Dog Training School

In 1939 Britain was once more at war with Germany and, yet again, and despite representations to the War Office from Richardson and Baldwin, Britain had no dog training programme - they had learnt nothing from their Great War successes. In the mean time Baldwin not only recruited the help of his local MP to ask questions in Parliament about the failure to use dogs, he initiated the Volunteer Trained Dog Reserve and arranged a meeting between The Kennel Club and representatives from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Association of Chief Police Officers of England & Wales to form a registry of owners of trained dogs who would be willing to offer their dogs for the war effort.

Baldwin’s persistence paid off and on 11th September 1941 a demonstration was arranged. Moore-Brabazon, now Lieutenant-Colonel, had recently been appointed Minister of the MAP (Ministry of Aircraft Production) with the responsibility of thousands of aircraft, and a large number of airfields and storage depots around the country. His biggest problem was the threat of sabotage, espionage and black-market theft so, when he heard about the demonstration he contacted his friend, Baldwin, and asked for representatives from the MAP to be invited also. The demonstration, attended by Squadron-Leader Wolf Barnarto, Colonel Dove, Colonel Archer, GSOI General Schreiber (on behalf of General Alexander) and approximately 80 officers, proved a success and Moore-Brabazon indicated his full approval. On the 17th November, thanks to Moore-Brabazon’s support, the Dog School scheme was approved and on 20th January 1942 Baldwin was seconded from the Army to the Air Force into the post of Dog Advisor and Chief Training Officer, the administration of the school being carried out by the RAF.

The dogs, consisting of a wide variety of breeds, were all donated by the public, and as soon as a training programme had been established student dog handlers from the RAF were drafted in to undertake their initial six-week training course. At this time the RAF Police were not involved. It was Baldwin’s original intention that the dogs would all be Alsatians, but problem arose when there wasn’t a sufficient supply of suitable dogs donated by the public, many of which were just not up to the job. The idea that breeding would solve the issue was beset with its own problems least of which was the 15 months, and costs, it took before the dog was of a suitable age to be trained, many then having to be rejected because they weren’t responsive to training. The breeding programme was abandoned.

On the 26th April 1942 General Littlejohn, the American Quartermaster-General, attended a demonstration. He was impressed and shortly after the dog school was given the task of training American soldiers who handled dogs. In January 1944 soldiers of the 9th American Air Force joined the training schemes. General Littlejohn eventually awarded Col. Baldwin the Legion of Merit (Officer) for his work training USAF dogs and handlers.

Throughout WW2, and despite savings in management costs, the threat that the dog training school would be disbanded after the war was constant. Eventually, a number of ideas were tabled and discussed by senior RAF officers, but it was two Assistant Provost Marshals who pushed things forward. Squadron Leader S. Barnes and E. Dangerfield saw the peacetime value of properly trained dogs and RAF Police Handlers. Squadron Leader Barnes arranged for Baldwin to meet the Provost Marshal and demonstrate the capabilities of his dogs and handlers. Suitably impressed the Provost Marshal recommended to the government that the Ministry of Aircraft Production Guard Dog Training School be taken over by the RAF Police.

A lengthy battle ensued at the Air Ministry and approval was finally granted from the Chief of Air Staff making the dog school part of the RAF Police organisation. It proved to be a successful venture and at Woodfold, on the 24th March 1944, the first batch of RAF Police NCOs commenced their training as dog handlers. By 1946 the MAP Guard Dog Training School had been renamed the RAF Police Dog Training School and moved from Woodfold mansion house to larger premises at RAF Staverton. This same year the RAF moved their Police School and HQ to RAF Staverton.

The problems encountered by Baldwin with regard to the sole use of Alsatians took a turn for the better in June 1948. The Royal tournament was held at Olympia Stadium, London, and the newly-formed RAF Police Dog Demonstration Team appeared for the first time in public. Using only Alsatians they stole the show! They proved an instant success. National newspapers gave them first-rate reviews. From that moment on the school received a constant supply of suitable Alsatians from the public.  top of page



  The PDSA Dickin Medal
Having established the PDSA in 1917, Maria Dickin, OBE, introduced the PDSA Dickin Medal in 1943 for animals that displayed "conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty associated with, or under the control of, any branch of the Armed Forces or Civil Defence units." The press quickly dubbed the Dickin Medal as "the animals’ Victoria Cross." The PDSA introduced two further awards:

• The Gold Medal for Animal Gallantry - the animals’ George Cross, considered for any act of conspicuous courage where the animal has been instrumental in saving human life.

• The PDSA Certificate for Animal Bravery - for other acts of bravery worthy of recognition.  top of page


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PDSA Dickin Medal
  The Peoples Dispensary for Sick Animals
Allied Forces Mascot Club
The PDSA Allied Forces Mascot Club was formed: "to get lasting recognition for the thousands of animals in the 1939-45 war, and whose presence - apart from actual work carried out by many, such as transport animals, guard and rescue dogs and homing pigeons - did so much in maintaining morale and giving pleasure and companionship to men and women of the Allied Forces, and even to our prisoners in enemy hands." It was the Allied Forces Mascot Club that presented the Dickin Medal awards.
  top of page


Allied Forces
Mascot Club Medallion
  Jet of Iada
Owner and breeder, Mrs. Hilda M Babcock Cleaver, 10 Garth Drive, Allerton, Liverpool, wife of William Babcock Cleaver, had been successfully breeding cockerspaniels when she bought her first Alsatian in 1940, which she called Sadie although she had been registered at The Kennel Club as Iada Dilah of Lilias.

On the 19th July 1942, in the kitchen of 10 Garth Drive, Sadie had five pups to Jamie of Eggerness. In response to a newspaper request, Mrs. Cleaver made contact with Colonel Baldwin offering the five pups for war training. The offer was gratefully accepted. During the wartime rationing, feeding the dogs was a most difficult task. Col. Baldwin sent a letter which helped with the food problem and permitted ‘visits’ to local ‘swill bins’ helping to rear the dogs before they left for training at nine months. During this time Mrs. Cleaver regularly exercised them in Liverpool’s Calderstones Park.

In April 1943 the dogs were ‘called up’ for duty and were taken to Mossley Hill station, Liverpool, where they were put in the guards van of the train for Woodfold mansion house, Gloucester. After initial training as a guard dog Jet was posted to the American Army Air Force in Northern Ireland, to work with handler Elmer Aleksieweiz, for anti-sabotage duty around airfields. Jet returned to the Woodfold training school in June 1944 as Instructor and Demonstrator with his new handler, Corporal Wardle, of the Royal Air Force.  top of page


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Iada Dilah of Lilias
Foundation bitch of the
Iada Kennels

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Iada Kennels Pedigree Form

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Jet of Iada Pedigree Form
showing that Jet was
descended from Col. Baldwin's
Picardy Kennels
  Search & Rescue
The thought that dogs could be used to search for people came to Colonel Baldwin whilst watching a film in a Cheltenham cinema called The Siege of Stalingrad, which gave him the idea that dogs could be trained to point snipers.

Whilst under training in a blitzed area of Birmingham, several RAF ‘snipers’ were asked to hide themselves in various locations. The dogs, having been given the order "Find" went searching and found all but one of the men. Later, Jet was seen digging frantically amid the debris at a small hole no bigger than a mans hand. His handler decided to investigate and found the last man hiding twelve feet down. The ‘sniper’ had tried to outwit the dogs by going below ground at one point and worming his way through to the cellar of another building, sealing off the entrance hole. There the ‘sniper’ lay in wait with just the small opening that Jet had found for a breathing hole.

This gave Colonel Baldwin the idea that if a dog could detect the presence of someone so far below ground then dogs could be used for the search and rescue of people during the bombardment of London, and from 3rd September 1944, Jet was returned to Staverton Court to train as a search and rescue dog.  top of page


  The London Air Raids
The Home Secretary, Herbert Morrison, having witnessed a demonstration of Jet’s ability during a visit to Birmingham in October 1944, instructed that the dog be put to work in London during the air raids. Jet, with his handler Corporal Wardle, went on to be responsible for the recovery of 125 people, 50 of whom were alive.

It has been recorded that there was a "perfect understanding" between Jet, and his handler, Corporal Wardle. "...Jet had an extraordinary keen scent and, as he stepped gingerly over the still-smoking ruins of a building, reduced to a heap of rubble by a Doodlebug,* or V1 flying bomb, he would suddenly pause and sniff around one spot for a moment or two, until he was satisfied that he had a find, then he would indicate it by starting to dig. He was never known to give a wrong indication, but frequently burnt his feet by the attempted digging."
* Doodlebug = The FZG 76 (Flakzielgerat: anti-aircraft aiming device 76) or Vergeltunswaffe Eins (Reprisal Weapon 1), or more simply the V1.

The incident that merited Jet’s award was during a search for survivors after an hotel in Chelsea, London, had received a direct hit from an enemy bomb in October 1944. Several people had been rescued and the Civil Defence was preparing to stand down when Jet showed interest in a tall brick shaft and indicated to his handler that there was someone high above the ground. His handler had learnt from Jet that if the person was dead he just sat, but if they were alive he continued to be agitated by whining and trying to get near them. A search was made but nothing was found. To the disbelief of the Civil Defence workers, the dog refused to move and continued to indicate to his trainer that there was someone there and still alive. Ladders were called for and a search commenced. Jet held his position for 11½ hours whilst rescuers searched. Eventually a woman, sixty-three years of age, was found covered in plaster and dust on a ledge that was all that remained of the top floor She was alive, taken to hospital, and made a full recovery within two weeks. For this act of dedication Jet was nominated for the Dickin Medal.  top of page


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Lieut-Col. Dove's letter giving
brief details of the deed that
won Jet the Dickin Medal

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Lieut-Col. Dove's letter comfirming
Jet's award of the Dickin Medal

  The Peoples Dispensary for Sick Animals
Dickin Medal Award

At a ceremony held at Langley Park, Mill Hill, London, on 12th January 1945, Jet received the PDSA Dickin Medal. The award was presented by Admiral Sir Edward Evans, (Evans of the Broke) later Lord Mountevans. The citation read:

"For outstanding service in locating a woman buried in debris on the top floor of a blitzed building in Chelsea and holding that position for 11½ hours."

Some time later Mrs. Cleaver took Jet to the Tower of London to help raise funds for the PDSA. On their way a woman dashed from one side of the road to the other, oblivious of traffic and pedestrians, and threw her arms around his neck and cried "It’s Jet! It’s our Jet - I know it is!" With tears streaming down her face she emptied the contents of her purse into the collecting tin.

On another occasion in Birmingham, after a demonstration of Police Dog work, a man came pushing through the crowd and placed a one pound note into the handlers hand and, patting Jet on the head, murmured "Jet saved my life." He then disappeared into the crowd.

From the 8th May to the 14th August 1945, Jet, and several other dogs, were sent to Europe to guard German POWs and not one prisoner was known to have escaped or even attempted to.

After the war Jet and Thorn were chosen to lead the Civil Defence section of the Victory Parade in London in June 1946. The march proved too much for Thorn who withdrew part way through the parade. As Jet passed the march-past dais he was seen ‘saluting’ by barking three times toward King George 6th. Thorn too had been presented with the Dickin Medal, at a ceremony held on 25th April 1945, the medal being presented by the Commissioner of Police, Sir Harold Scott. Thorn was a direct descendant of Rin Tin Tin!

Whilst Jet was on leave Mrs. Cleaver entered Jet in the Cheltenham Alsatian Dog Show obedience tests and won first prizes in obedience and war-dog trials. He was also taught shepherding.

Before being demobilised Jet, now aged four years, was sent back to training school to teach and demonstrate to other dogs, returning home to Liverpool in December 1946, when he recognising Mrs. Cleaver right away!

In 1947 Jet was entered in The Star, Third National Dog Show Tournament, held at Wembley, London, which was attended by General Sir Charles (Frederick) Keightley, KBE, CD, DSO, OBE, DL, where his popularity proved too much for his handler, Una P Dod, who was continually requested to recite Jet’s wartime deeds. This same year Jet also participated in the opening of the Liverpool Flower Show, Wavertree; a three-day display at George Henry Lee’s, Church Street; and another at the Horses Rest Fete & Dog Show, Halewood, Liverpool.  top of page


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Jet and his handler, Corporal Wardle
receiving the award from
Sir Edward Evans (Evans of the Broke),
later Lord Mountevans.

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Jet on the Victory Parade

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The Animals War Memorial Fund

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Jet and his handler working
on a bombed site

  The ‘William’ Pit Disaster, Whitehaven, Cumbria
On 15th August 1947, there was a disaster at the ‘William’ pit coal mine, Whitehaven, Cumbria (UK). 104 miners lost their lives when an explosion ripped through 2,000 yards of the mine. Miraculously, and to the astonishment of rescue works, three men walked out alive. Opened in 1806 and closed in 1955, the ‘William’ pit was dubbed "the most dangerous pit in the kingdom" in 1816 when it was selected to test the newly invented Sir Humphrey Davy’s Safety Lamp.

On being informed of the disaster, Mrs. Cleaver, who was brought up in the Rhondda Valley, Wales, at first refused a request for Jet’s help, even though the request was being made personally by Colonel Baldwin. With the ‘phone still in her hand, and in the few seconds that followed the request (she did not like the thought of Jet going just to recover what was, more than likely, only dead bodies) her childhood recollections resurfaced of women standing at the pithead waiting for news of their menfolk during the aftermath of a pit explosion… she gave her consent.

Jet did not go willingly into the van when it called to collect him. He had to be lifted into the van from behind, his head drooped. He was quiet for the whole of the journey to Whitehaven but, on nearing the pit, he began to sniff and tremble. It was as if he knew he was back at work and could sense the tragedy.

Along with two other rescue dogs, Prince and Rex, and their handlers from the RAF School for Police Dogs from Gloucester, Flight-Lieut. Cooper, Corporal’s Jenkins, Darnell and Marshall, the latter from Moss Lane, Orrell Park, Liverpool, helped search the 2,000 yard stretch of the mine for the remaining four bodies. This was the first recorded instance of dogs being used down the mines for the rescue of people. "Although Jet had never been in a cage before he was quite calm then, working seven-hour shifts, led the search party miles out under the sea. Jet and his handler had to burrow their way, wriggling like worms under the rubble and climb heaps of slack still smouldering through the recent combustion, or leaping over dangerous fissures…" There was always the intolerable heat, gas fumes and the ever-present stench of death. The men had their feet protected and wore masks. The dogs could not.

Although it was too late to save the lives of any miners, Jet however saved the rescue party. During the search Jet looked up, whined and moved back. His handler called to the search party to stop and move back. As they did there was a fall of rock. The search party had been saved by Jet’s warning of the impending collapse of the mine roof and the handler’s quick response. His handler said: "He certainly is a star dog." After all the remaining bodies were found his handler returned Jet home. Jet hardly moved from his bed for two days.  top of page


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Letter of thanks from
HM Inspector of Mines






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RSPCA Medallion For Valour

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Star Dog of Whitehaven Medallion

  Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals ‘Medallion For Valour’ and the ‘Star Dog of Whitehaven’ award
The RSPCA ’Medallion For Valour’ was instituted in 1946 for: "Animals who had proved themselves heroes on the battlefield, or wherever they were stationed." In 1954 the RSPCA Medallion For Valour was replaced by the Animal Plaque.

On the 20th April 1948, at the 76th AGM of the Liverpool branch of the RSPCA, held at the Town Hall, the Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Walter Thomas Lancashire, JP, (president of the branch) and supported by the Lady Mayoress, presented Jet with a red collar bearing the Medallion For Valour (an attractive plate intended to be attached to the recipients collar), the highest award of the RSPCA, for his war work, and at the ‘William’ pit disaster, Whitehaven, Cumbria.

At the ceremony, Una P Dod, a close friend of the Cleaver family and committee leader of the RSPCA region, awarded Jet with a personal token of love, a five-pointed star medal inscribed: ‘Jet of Iada, Star Dog of Whitehaven’ which was presented by the Lord Mayor. Miss Dod also had the pleasure of reading Jet’s record to the audience at the Town Hall.  top of page


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Jet, Mrs Babcock Cleaver (left)
and the Lord and Lady Mayoress
at the Liverpool Town Hall

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Jet, Mrs Babcock Cleaver (left)
and Miss Una P. Dod after the
  Jet of Iada - Memorial Column & Sundial
In June 1948 advanced arrangements were made for a memorial to Jet to be placed in the Rose Garden located within Calderstones Park. The monument was donated by Mrs. Cleaver and its sunken location with York stone flooring, steps and dwarf walling together with four oak benches, were all developed and provided by Liverpool's City Council. I was agreed that one day Jet would be buried there.

Samuel Welsby (Memorials Ltd) Woolton Road, Garston, Liverpool, was commissioned to produce the memorial. the sculptor of the Cumberland green stone medallion is unknown.

The sundial memorial, a tapering fluted column, mounted on a rectangular base, is inscribed on each of the four faces of the base with the principal events in Jet’s life. Mounted on the face of the column is the oval medallion, of Cumberland green stone, depicting Jet wearing his medals. The column was, at the time of erecting, topped with a brass sundial.

In addition to the Calderstones Park memorial Mrs. Cleaver also donated an oil on canvas painting by Alfred K Wiffen (1896-1968) of Jet of Iada with his handler searching through wreckage for signs of life. Also, a bronze bust of Jet, by the noted wildlife sculptor, Edna Rose (1899-1981), of Hoylake, Wirral.

Both were gifted to the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, (Reg. No. WAG 7003) for display at the Mansion House, Calderstones Park. Vandalism caused the managers to return the exhibits to the Walker Gallery.

Mrs. Cleaver also, in 1974, donated Jet’s medals to the Imperial War Museum, London, where they are held and ‘logged’ under reference ACQ REF 143/74.

In March 1971, the comedian, Ken Dodd, unveiled a luxurious memorial kennel to Jet at the RSPCA Animal Home on Edge Lane, Liverpool.

Jet of Iada was the first war dog to be trained in Search & Rescue and was the first rescue dog to receive the Dickin Medal. Jet is the first dog in the UK to be buried in a public park. His involvement in the ‘William’ Pit mine disaster is the first on record of dogs having been used for the search and rescue of trapped mine workers.  top of page


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Jet wearing his medals
(left to right):
PDSA Allied Forces Mascot Club
Dickin Medal
Star of Whitehaven
RSPCA Medallion For Valour
(Mounted on collar)

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Jet's memorial in the Rose Garden
of Calderstones Park, 1949 

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Jet's memorial in what is now
the Ornamental Garden of
Calderstones Park, 2004
  Jet of Iada - Full Civic Honours
In the autumn of 1949 the vet, Mr. Cecil Cohen, was called to see Jet because he didn’t seem too well. The vet diagnosed heart and kidney trouble and was surprised that Jet had not died earlier. Two days later Jet rose from his bed and went to the garden. He picked up his ball on the way but finding it too heavy to hold dropped it and returned to his mattress. He gave Mrs. Cleaver a last look and fell on his side, dead. That was on the 18th October 1949. He was seven years old. Jet was laid to rest in the memorial location which had been prepared, and on the 22nd October the Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Walter Thomas Lancashire, JP, and the Lady Mayoress, along with numerous other city dignitories and officials, attended Jet’s burial and dedication of the monument in the Rose Garden within Calderstones Park.

In the summer of 2003 Mrs. Lilias Ward and William Cleaver, Mrs. Babcock Cleaver’s daughter and son, had the memorial area, in what had now become known as the Ornamental garden, rebuilt. The original sundial, which had been stolen from the monument, was replaced by granite sculpture of the Dickin Medal by the Liverpool sculptor Pablo Grassi and bound by a bronze band inscribed:–

"Jet was born and died at Garth Drive, L18. In youth and later years he walked the fields of Calderstones with his breeder and owner Mrs. H Cleaver who buried him here 22nd October 1949."  top of page


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Full Civic Honours for Jet of Iada

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Jet's Medals on display at
The Kennel Club temporary exhibition, 2005
  Post War Dickin Medals
The first PDSA Dickin Medal outside of WW2 was a posthumous award, for an act of bravery during WW2, to a Canadian war dog named Gander in October 2000.

Two consecutive awards followed to two guide dogs, Salty and Roselle, for leading their owners to safety down more than seventy floors of the World Trade Centre, New York, on 11th September 2001, destroyed when terrorists flew two planes full of passengers, one plane into each of the two buildings, which later collapsed. The award was made on 5th March 2002 at the Rescue Workers Memorial (Ground Zero), Waterfront Promenade (Southend and Liberty), Manhattan, New York. Also, at this same ceremony, Appollo (sic), a German Shepherd Dog from the NYPD Suffolk County PD canine unit, and his handler police officer Peter Davies, accepted the PDSA Dickin Medal on behalf of 400 Search & Rescue dog teams that worked, to the point of exhaustion, at Ground Zero, and at the Pentagon, looking for life amidst the ruins.

In 2003, a British Army dog, a springer spaniel named Sam, was awarded the Dickin Medal for his bravery in Bosnia, and in December 2003 Royal Army Veterinary Corps dog, Buster, was presented with the Dickin Medal in recognition of his devotion, above and beyond the call of duty, in Safwan, Iraq. Mrs. Lilias Ward, daughter of Mrs. Babcock Cleaver, was invited to attend the presentation, by HRH Princess Alexandria, at the Imperial War Museum, London.  top of page


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Animals in War Memorial
Unveiled on 24th November 2004
by HRH The Princess Royal, KG, KT,
Patron of the
Animals in War Memorial Fund
  The Cleaver family - a brief history
Arnold Jeffries Cleaver (1851-1918) assisted in the formation of The Liverpool Children’s Shelter, established by Liverpool banker, Thomas Agnew in 1883, which went on to become the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. He was also the Honorary Secretary to the Liverpool Children’s Hospital, Myrtle Street, and President of the Liverpool Law Society, 1904-05.

His brother, Harris Peugeot Cleaver (1853-1925), was a Clerk to the West Derby Board of Guardians and Chief Registrar for Liverpool, then at Brougham Terrace. The Board had the power to send paupers abroad to the colonies, Canada being their usual choice, a practice Harris Cleaver didn’t agree with. He was a man who was noted for his devotion to work, his father (William Cleaver 1812-1880) having been the Clerk before him from 1847 until his death in 1880.

In April 1884, the Board decided that because several poor persons were ‘desirous of emigrating to Canada’ took the necessary steps to effect their emigration. The oldest of these ‘poor persons’ was 16, the two youngest was a girl aged 4 and a boy aged 2. How children of this age, and without parents, could possibly ‘desire’ to be transported to Canada is inexplicable. Cleaver was so deeply concerned about these decisions that he travelled to Canada, at his own expense, to investigate their situation. He was so distressed at the conditions under which many of the children were living that when he returned he persuaded the Board of Guardians to discontinue their ‘emigration’ policy.

Shortly afterwards funding was made available and on 27th March, 1889, the Cottage Homes, Fazakerley, were opened to house pauper children. The Liverpool Select Vestry followed suit and a similar scheme was carried out to erect Cottage Homes at Olive Mount, Wavertree, in 1897, and they became a Children’s Hospital c.1925. The West Derby Union extended their facilities for children with a Children’s Sanatorium that opened in Heswall, c1903, for children suffering from TB. The Sanatorium was later renamed The Cleaver Hospital. They also purchased Alder Hey house and grounds, Eaton Road, West Derby, in 1906, and built a hospital for chronic infirm paupers, but the building was used for sick children instead. The Foundation Stone was laid in March 1911, and it was then known as Alder Hey Hospital - the prefix ‘Childrens’ was added in 1951.

In 1889, solicitors Arnold Jeffries Cleaver and his brother, Richard, acted to defend Florence Maybrick indicted for the murder of James Maybrick, her husband.

The trial, on the 31st July, at Liverpool Summer Assizes, St. George’s Hall, was dubbed "The Fly-Paper Murder." A steward/waitress gave evidence that Florence soaked fly-papers to extract arsenic. It was without doubt one of the most sensational criminal cases of the century.

Council for the defence, instructed by Messrs. Cleaver & Cleaver, were Sir Charles Russell, QC., MP., and Mr. William Dickford. Later, Lord Russell became Lord Chief Justice.

James Maybrick was described "a very good kind of fellow" but he was a seducer, adulterer, drinker, drug addict and debauchee. He was known to take arsenic to ward off bouts of Malaria and to boost his voracious sexual appetite. Before he married he had seduced a young woman of eighteen under promise of marriage. He kept her as his mistress until she bore him five children and then he cast her off without remorse when he saw his chance of marrying Florence Maybrick.

Even though she was accused of his murder Florence Maybrick implored Messrs. Cleaver’s "to spare Jim as much as possible." "I know," she said, "he has done many wrong things, but he is dead now, and I would be distressed if his life were to be made public." Her solicitors yielded to her pleas, consoling themselves, from a professional point of view, that to comply with her earnest pleas might not materially injure the case. The case was lost and Florence Maybrick was sentenced to death by hanging.

At his own expense Arnold Cleaver travelled to the USA, obtaining sworn statements from servants who attended James Maybrick at his frequent cotton-buying visits. These revealed the shopping trips which servants frequently made to obtain arsenic to sustain James Maybrick’s habit.

Following a long struggle (the Court of Criminal Appeal only came into existence some 15 years later), Queen Victoria reluctantly expressed mercy. Florence Maybrick served ‘life’ and was released 25th January 1904. She died in 1941, aged 81, in Connecticut, USA.

In Lord Russell’s later recollections of Mrs. Maybrick he is quoted as saying "a woman who, in the opinion of some who had most knowledge of the facts should not have been convicted."

Nearly 100 years after his death convincing evidence shows that Jack the Ripper, who slaughtered and butchered prostitutes in London’s East End, was James Maybrick.

Arnold Jeffries Cleaver left the legal firm to become Registrar to the Liverpool District High Court in the Government Offices, Victoria Street, Liverpool. A building that backed on to the Municipal Buildings on Dale Street, and was shared by the Ministries of Health and Agriculture, the Assistance Board and the Inland Revenue Stamp Office among others. By a twist of irony his son, William Babcock Cleaver (1882-1956), also a solicitor and principle clerk of the Registry, was on fire watch in this same building during the 1941 3rd May Blitz in which he lost his left leg after he was impaled by timber when a high-explosive bomb destroyed the building. William Babcock Cleaver was rescued by a police officer. The official report read:

"Mr. Leatham was on voluntary fire-watching duty with other colleagues, and was sheltering in the basement during the height of a raid when a high-explosive bomb crashed through the floors immediately above, tearing down the walls, caving in the shelter, and setting the place on fire. Mr. Leatham managed to worm his way out from under the fallen brickwork and timber and go for help to secure the release of two colleagues, who remained trapped and injured under the debris. Police and auxiliary firemen were soon at work, the firemen fighting the fire overhead and Constable Hunter digging his way through to one man who was pinned down by beams. Despite the limited space, Constable Hunter removed the rubble, sawed through the timber and got out the casualty.

Meanwhile, Mr. Leatham, who had already directed the firemen so that the trapped men should not be drowned by water from the hoses, began burrowing towards the other victim, but was unable, owing to heavy obstructions, to reach him unaided. The rescue work went on for seven hours, and while waiting for help from the rescue party, Mr. Leatham salvaged valuable papers and periodically crawled down the tunnel near to the trapped man to reassure him."

For their gallantry both men received the British Empire Medal. The building, which was totally destroyed, is presently a public car park and one of only a few visible remains of the 1941 May Blitz.  top of page


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Cleaver Hospital

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Fazakerley Cottage Homes

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Alder Hey Hospital
  Iada Kennels
Mrs. Hilda M Babcock Cleaver, a trained nurse and wife of William Babcock Cleaver, established her own breeding kennels under the prefix of ‘Iada’ using the Cleaver crest as part of the title.

Mrs. Cleaver frequently went to Calderstones Park where she would exercise all her dogs. Having been born in the country she found city life hard so the park was her much-needed bit of ‘open countryside’ that she loved so much.

Animals have been part of the family in more ways than one and it was quite usual for Mrs. Cleaver’s children, Lilias and William, to take their pet lamb to their nearby Beechenhurst School on Menlove Avenue, or for walks along Allerton Road.  top of page

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Mrs. Babcock Cleaver with her 4
Alsatians (left) and Jet of Iada

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William and Lilias Cleaver
with their pet lamb and the
Cleaver family crest
My sister, Mrs. Lilias Ward and I well remember our childhood and all mothers dogs which certainly added colour and interest to our lives. Dachshunds, long, short and wire haired; Afghan hounds, Great Danes, a retriever, Samoyed, Dandy Dinmont, Rhodesian Ridgeback, and a St. Bernard all before she seriously began breeding Cocker Spaniels. But, it was soon after the outbreak of war when mother’s real interest in Alsatians took off.

In several consecutive litters there was quite a preponderance of all-blacks. We remember the visits from the Egyptian Embassy of Ambassador, staff and veterinary experts from Egypt when King Farouk decided to buy a brace of black Alsatians for his Alexandria Palace.

Of all the dogs we remember, however, it was Jet who was quite outstanding. As a puppy he stood out as being very bright, inquisitive, active and always responsive. In older years when ‘demobbed’ he was gentle, loving and quiet but he never quite forgot his early guard-dog training.

My lasting memory was of that grey and misty autumn morning bringing home the small two-wheeled barrow with which mother had taken her last walk with Jet. She had buried him the night before where a monument now stands in what is now known as the Ornamental Garden of Calderstones Park.

My sister and I have often been disturbed by scant mention of, or even erroneous comment on Jet’s life appearing from time to time. So it was with warm welcome we greeted an approach from Ron Brown to whom was handed a mountain of newspaper cuttings, writings, comments and letters about Jet. It was his systematic study and relentless pursuit of the real story that resulted in his book – Jet of Iada D.M., M.F.V., from which the preceding pages have been taken.

William A. Cleaver.


Dickin Medal

Medallion For Valour

Allied Forces Medallion

Star Dog of

Dogs of Britain
Red Cross Appeal

Defence League

Jet of Iada, DM, MFV. © Copyright 2006, Bill Cleaver & Ron Brown, all rights reserved