Gander was a black Newfoundland Dog who was originally someone's pet, and named Pal.
He accidentally scratched a child's face and the owner gave him to the Royal Rifles, a regiment of the Canadian Army stationed at Gander International Airport, in Newfoundland.
The soldiers renamed the dog after the airport and he accompanied them to Hong Kong in 1941
The battle of Hong Kong began in December 1941, after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour.
During the battle, the Japanese soldiers threw a hand grenade at the Canadians. The dog retrieved it and rushed it toward the enemy, thereby being killed in the explosion.
It wasn't until 2000 that the heroic dog was at last awarded the Dickin Medal for his actions. This medal is an animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross and it was the first such award since 1949.
The citation reads:
For saving the lives of Canadian infantrymen during the Battle of Lye Mun on Hong Kong Island in December 1941. On three documented occasions, Gander, the Newfoundland mascot of the Royal Rifles of Canada, engaged the enemy as his regiment joined the Winnipeg Grenadiers, members of Battalion Headquarters "C" Force and other Commonwealth troops in their courageous defence of the island. Twice Gander's attacks halted the enemy's advance and protected groups of wounded soldiers. In a final act of bravery, the war dog was killed in action gathering a grenade. Without Gander's intervention, many more lives would have been lost in the assault.
His name is listed on the Hong Kong Veterans Memorial Wall in Ottawa, Canada, along with nearly 2000 men and women