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MBE for Army dog handler

Cpl Scott Connall, MBE with one of the many Armed Explosive Search dogs he has trained

AN ARMY dog handler has become the lowest ranked member of the Royal Army Veterinary Corps to ever receive an MBE.

Scott Connal, 35, was serving as a Lance Corporal working as a dog trainer in Cyprus when he received the news of his award earlier this month, which had previously been awarded only to officers in the Veterinary Corps.

Scott was taken aback by his unexpected honour, saying: ‘I stopped breathing when I heard! I certainly wasn't expecting it. I had no idea it was coming. When the Commandant informed me he could have knocked me down with a feather.’

Although Scott was born in Scotland, he moved to Bridlington, Devon when he was six and lived in the county until leaving school to join the army aged 16.

Scott, who now lives in Sunderland with his fiancée, said: ‘I was up in Bridlington last weekend and my mum had a banner across the front of the house. It will be a long time before she comes down from all the excitement. And my granddad, I have never heard him be so proud of me. He is an ex-soldier, so for one of the family to receive an MBE, and me still being young, they are all well chuffed.’

When he first left school, Scott moved into the infantry, before moving on to the dog-training division.

He was nominated for the award on the back of work over a seven-month period in Cyprus maintaining the health and welfare of several Armed Explosive Search dogs..

He had been caring for six dogs at a time, and has since been promoted to the rank of Corporal for his efforts.

He said: ‘I have always been a dog lover, and you have got to have an attachment to them to do this job. You can't start with one dog and keep it for your whole career. You get used to it after a few years of working with them. One dog is enough work on its own, but six of them is a lot of work.’