Burgh's flying cat honoured

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Bird-and-Bruce-wTHE exploits of a Helensburgh cat which joined an RAF crew during the Second World War have been recognised with a bravery award.

The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals charity awarded a special posthumous commendation to Pyro, which was adopted by Wallasey photographer Bob Bird when he was stationed at the Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment base at Helensburgh and Rhu.

The award for the only flying cat of that and any other war was presented to Bob’s son Robin and his wife Carla by TV newsreader and presenter Fiona Bruce at a recording of the popular BBC TV programme Antiques Roadshow.

Bird-with-Pyro-wThe filming was at the National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas, Staffordshire, and the programme was broadcast on the evening of Remembrance Sunday.

Pyro’s story was brought to the charity’s attention by retired Merseyside newspaper editor Robin, who has written two books about MAEE. One has been published and the next one will be published soon.

His late father served there as a photographer recording trials of experimental aircraft and weapons. Pyro (pictured left on Bob's knee) was a stray kitten who made his home in the base.

Robin said: “Pyro was a pussycat that Helensburgh can be proud of.”

  • Pyro's full story can be found here in the Military section of this website.