The monument to a hero dog who saved hundreds of lives during World War 2 was cleaned up by his newest generation of fans. Jet of Iada was an Alsation from Liverpool who was recruited to help find people who had been trapped in collapsed buildings that had been destroyed in the London Blitz. Jet saved 150 lives through his war time heroics and was awarded the Dickin Medal - the animal equivalent to the Victoria Cross. He was also awarded the RSPCA’s Medallion of Valor for his contribution in the war.
In July 2016 some of our Y5 children pulled on their rubber gloves to clean up the monument to jet which has been in Calderstones Park since his death, aged seven, in 1949. The children also got to meet Jet’s former owner, 93 year-old Lilias Ward, who grew up with Jet in Garth Drive, Allerton. She revealed that Jet led the VE day parade in London after the war in Europe was won. As he led soldiers past Buckingham Palace Jet spontaneously sat down and barked three times to everyone’s surprise. Lilias has countless memories of Jet that she shared with tour children including that Jet bossed his brothers around and when the other dogs ran off he would be sent to herd them back home.
Teacher Mrs Parry said: “It was wonderful that the children got to meet Lilias and ask her questions about the dog. It was an absolutely fantastic day – really well organised. It was great for the children to be involved in the local community.”
The children had previously been taught about Jet and his war efforts in school before helping out at the park.
Jet, whose offical pedigree name was ‘Jet of Iada’, became a national hero for his wartime efforts but also saved more lives after a tunnel collapse at the Whitehaven Mine in Cumbria in 1947.
Calderstones Park was chosen as Jet’s resting place as it was the place he used to be walked and a stone monument was erected in his memory when he died aged seven in 1949. The day was organised by the Friends of Harthill and Calderstones Park and The Reader Charity who are aiming to promote the area’s history to local schools. Richard MacDonald, Heritage Stories Maker at The Reader said: “Jet was a very brave and special dog, as the children at Childwall CE Primary School have been discovering in their lessons. It’s fantastic that as well as visiting Jet’s memorial to celebrate him as a nation hero, they got to meet Mrs Ward and share her memories of her pet.”