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Animals in the Armed Forces


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Animals in the Armed Forces is a community curated exhibition produced by the volunteers of The Fusilier Museum London

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Animals in the Armed Forces

  1. 1. Animals in the Armed Forces With thanks to... Stephen Bennett Anna Bromwich John Doncaster Bill Fahey Stewart Hardman Alastair Lamb-Crawley Adam McGee-Abe Jim Morrison Yulia Naumova If you would like to be involved in the next community curated exhibition organised by The Fusilier Museum London please contact: Stephanie Killingbeck, Museum Officer 0203 166 6912 Associated Event Talk – Animals and the Modern Army Date Monday 3rd June 2013 Arrival 6.30-7.00pm, talk starts at 7.00pm At The Fusilier Museum London, Tower of London, EC3N 4AB. Major Steve Leavis from the Defence Animal Training Centre will be discussing the role, training and importance of military animals in the modern armed forces. FREE but booking essential Book on 02031666912 or Find out more about the Fusiliers on our website. Or use your smart phone to scan here. A community exhibition by volunteers from The Fusilier Museum London. Organised by: Funded by: With thanks to our hosts: Please have a look around, we hope you enjoy the exhibition Throughout history the Armed Forces have had a unique relationship with animals. The Fusilier Museum London has been looking at what animals mean to the army and uncovering some fascinating Fusiliers stories.
  2. 2. c1150 BC The first time a carrier pigeon was used to carry military messages (Baghdad) c1150BC 1658 c1000BC 853BC c600BC 525BC c500BC c340BC 225BC c400AD Warriors first used horse drawn chariots to successful invade Egypt. The first use of camel cavalries was in the Battle of Qarqar, in Syria. The earliest use of wardogs was in Anatolia in modern-day Turkey. The first war elephants were used in India & China. Heavily armoured Persian Cavalrymen carried by the first equine tanks Britain’s first cavalry. The 1st Troop of Horse Guards was formed in exile in Holland from followers of Charles II. What do a dog, a cat and a sheep have in common? They were all used to defeat the Egyptian army in 525BC.   Worshipped by the Egyptians, these animals were used as a shield to protect the Persian troops as they advanced on Egypt. Under attack from the Egyptian defenders, the quick thinking Persian king arranged the animals before the front line.   In fear of hurting their sacred animals the Egyptians surrendered.   Egypt was lost, all for the love of animals. Bucephalus – The Greatest War Horse Ever? A city - Bucephala - was named after him Have you ever heard of a city being built in honour of a horse? That is what happened when Bucephalus, the horse of Alexander the Great, died in battle.   When Alexander was 12 years old, Bucephalus was wild, nobody could tame him and he was going to be killed.   Alexander asked to ride him. He had noticed that Bucephalus was scared of his own shadow and turned the horse into the sun. With his shadow behind him Bucephalus calmed down and let Alexander ride him. He was the only person ever to do so.   Riding Bucephalus Alexander defeated many armies - until they faced the Rajah of Pakistan.   Alexander defeated the Rajah but Bucephalus was badly wounded. The horse carried Alexander away from the fighting, before he Hannibal crosses the Alps with elephants Human beings have had a complex relationship with animals. We have cherished them as pets. We have used them as food, clothing and transport. We have placed them in great danger – and sometimes cruelly so. Yet they remain constantly faithful to us and are sometimes our greatest friends. This is part of their fascinating story…the story of their military involvement with human beings.
  3. 3. Flowerdew’s Cavalry Charge Lieutenant Flowerdew and 70% of his men lost their lives but won the battle. Out numbered and facing machine gun fire Flowerdew and his men charged the German army. Despite heavy losses of their own they managed to beat back the enemy. Triumphant they recaptured Moreuil Wood, France. The Colonies Did you know that many of the animals and soldiers that have fought for England were not from Britain? At the time of the First World War Britain ruled over many foreign countries, these countries were known as British Colonies and formed part of the British Empire. When Britain went to war she called upon people from across the world to fight on her behalf. Bess Bess was the only horse to return to New Zealand. She became a much celebrated symbol of the link between man and animal symbolising those who sacrificed so much during World War One. Bess and Trooper Clutha McKenzie, blinded during service in Gallipoli, travelled to England to represent New Zealand in the 1919 victory celebrations. 1917 Elephants from India were used on the home front, in Great Britain and Germany 1915 The Bikaner Camel Corps (India) beat Turkish forces in Egypt in a camel cavalry charge at the Suez Canal The Australian Light Horse Brigade The last successful cavalry charge in history was performed by The Australian Light Horse Brigade. Charging 3km into machine gun fire equipped only with rifles and bayonets they overran two Turkish trenches at the Battle of Beersheba in 1917. Australian Camel Corps 125,000 camels served in the First World War The Australian, New Zealand and British Camel Corps joined to form the Imperial Camel Corps in 1916. Camels were useful in the deserts of Palestine, as they were suited to the extreme conditions and heat. 50,000 camels served under the British fighting the Turks in the Middle East. by kind permission of Paul Reed Alfred Munnings Charge of Flowerdew’s Squadron CWM 19710261-0443 Beaverbrook Collection of War Art © Canadian War Museum
  4. 4. Satan the Messenger Dog Cher Ami (‘Dear Friend’) Communication Shot through the breast, blinded in one eye and having lost a leg Cher Ami still delivered the message which saved the lives of 194 survivors.   In October 1918, 500 US  soldiers were trapped behind  German lines.  American artillery began  falling on their position, the  gun crews did not know their  location and many of their own men were killed. Two carrier pigeons had already been released, but were shot  down by German troops.  Cher Ami was the last carrier pigeon the troops had left.   Despite being shot at and wounded several times she flew the  25 miles back to the divisional headquarters in 65 minutes.    Army medics managed to save her life, and carved her a small  wooden leg to replace the one she had lost.  Battling poison gas, flying bullets and waist high mud carrier pigeons and messenger dogs delivered communications throughout the 20th century.   Unlike dogs, pigeons did not get bogged down in the mud and were more difficult for the  enemy to shoot. However they had to face artillery fire, poisonous gas clouds and birds of  prey. They were also vulnerable to poor weather conditions.    Pigeons were so important, that all infantry, artillery and tank officers were trained to use  them. Dogs had other dangers to face. Running across open ground under heavy fire, they could get  stuck in the mud and disorientated. They were even known to run in the wrong direction and  deliver their message to the enemy.   Dogs were also used to warn soldiers of approaching enemies at night and to deliver supplies  and communication cables to the front line. The day a dog saved the city. Trapped in the city of Verdun, cut off from help and from hope  several hundred French soldiers  waited to be saved. Continuing to fight bravely but with their last homing pigeon  killed and no other way of calling for help, the men were  running out of hope. Suddenly flying across the ground a small black dot was  spotted. As it got nearer someone recognised the shape. It  was Satan, their messenger dog.  Satan ran on trying to reach the city. Suddenly he was hit by a  bullet. With one leg dangling at his side, he got to his feet and  ran on.  On his collar was a metal tube with the message -  "For God's sake, hold on! Will sent troops to relieve you tomorrow."   On his back Satan had carried a basket with two carrier  pigeons. The men replied "Silence the battery on our left”. Photo available at Imperial War Museum (Q 50649) Photo available at Imperial War Museum (H 3054) 1916  Edwin Richardson sets up the first British  Military Dog School in Essex 1914-1918 Killing or injuring a homing pigeon could result in being sent to prison for 6 months or a £100 fine National Library Scotland
  5. 5. Treacherous Terrain The Chindits were a special commando force trained to  operate behind deep enemy lines. Alone in the jungle with no contact  from the outside world and only the supplies that could be airlifted in the  Chindits could not have survived without the mules who helped them  navigate the difficult landscape. Travelling 9 to 35 miles a day up steep mountain paths of up to 5,000 feet  mules carried mortars, extra ammunition, wireless sets and battery  chargers.  However the mules were afraid of gunfire and sometimes gave away  Chindit positions by whining too loudly.  Animals had to be air lifted in. Sudden movements could make the mules  anxious and co-pilots had to know how to soothe an unruly mule. If they  were unable to calm the mule they would sometimes have to be shot.  Transport & Logistics "It was...possible to outwit a camel... if you blindfolded him, turned him round until he was dizzy, backed him up to the ramp, then pulled like mad in the other direction...he would immediately back up into the truck and be furious after the blindfold was removed that he'd been fooled” Photo available at Imperial War Museum (A 24292A) Photo available at Imperial War Museum (EA 20831) Through mud, through heat and over rocky terrain animals  were often the only means of getting supplies to the front  line. More reliable than vehicles, with great stamina and  huge strength, without animals the war would have been  almost impossible.  Brute Strength Of the 20,000 domestic and 6,000 wild elephants in Burma in 1942, only 2,500 were left alive by the end of the war. During WWII in India and Burma, elephants  proved invaluable in moving heavy loads over  mountainous jungle terrain where motorised  vehicles were unable to go. On the Somme Can you imagine mud so deep that if you fell into it you would drown? That is what it was like for the mules and horses  pulling heavy wagons across the rain soaked  battlefields of the Somme and Ypres in the First  World War. Sometimes the mud was so deep that when a horse  or mule fell into it and soldiers were unable to pull  them out, there was no choice but to shoot them  before they sank and drowned.  1916 Lizzie the Elephant leaves the circus to help  transport goods around Sheffield - she  replaced three horses. 1944  The Polish Army, fighting alongside the British in  Italy, have help from Wojtek the bear. Searing Heat In the Middle East the  camel was king.  They were ideal for  crossing hot desert terrrain, needing little food and water  and unlike horses their hooves did not split in the heat  and were broad enough to stop them sinking into the  sand. Indian camels were used as pack and draught  animals to pull carts carrying food, water and  ammunition. Double the load of a horse or mule. The lighter Egyptian camel was used for transporting  troops to the Front Line and evacuating the wounded  back to safety.
  6. 6. Medicine on the battlefield Ambulance Dogs ‘Mercy dogs’ were trained to search for and rescue wounded soldiers. They carried medical supplies and  small canteens of water or spirit for  wounded soldiers. If the soldier could not move the dog  was trained to fetch help. If the man  was behind his own battle line, the  dog would call for his handler.  If they had to work in no man's land,  the dogs were trained to return to  their handler carrying the helmet or a  piece of his uniform in order to inform  the medical unit that someone was in  need of urgent help and needed to be  rescued. Canaries Did you know that canaries are 50 times more sensitive to gas than humans? Canaries were widely used to indicate the presence  of toxic gas in enclosed spaces. Men were taught the signs of poisoning - the bird  would rub its beak on the cage wire or perch  followed by a vigorous shake of the head and a  bringing up of seed. The bird would then begin  panting, its body crouching before the final stage  when, after swaying backwards and forwards in an  effort to keep its balance, the bird would collapse to  the bottom of the cage. By this time the men should  be already evacuated from the tunnel.  “...after being in or about the line  for several months, one was  content to sit in the sunshine and  do nothing at all, beyond admire  the flowers and listen to the song  of the birds and enjoy the quiet. It  was medicine for the mind and  solace for the soul”   “...after being in or about the line  for several months, one was  content to sit in the sunshine and  do nothing at all, beyond admire  the flowers and listen to the song  of the birds and enjoy the quiet. It  was medicine for the mind and  solace for the soul”   Did you know more animals died of neglect than on the battlefield before World War One?   In response to public anger at the number of horses dying of  neglect the British Army Veterinary Corps was formed in 1796.   By World War I things had changed dramatically, of the 725,216  horses admitted to veterinary corps hospitals 529,064 were  returned to active service. For the first time there was hospital accommodation set up at the  front for the control and prevention of diseases and for the  evacuation of sick and wounded animals.   Veterinary officers carried panniers with field-dressings, bandages,  splints, antiseptic and other necessities for providing first aid.    However the loss of horses due to cold, hunger and disease was  still four times more than the 58,000 lost through enemy action. Photo available at Imperial War Museum (Q 1619) National Library Scotland National Library Scotland by kind permission of Paul Reed 1912 Our Dumb Friends League started its Blue Cross Fund to assist animals affected by war. 1918 King George V awards the Royal prefix to the Army Veterinary Corps in recognition of their work. Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division
  7. 7. Behind the Line World War I wasn’t all about trench warfare, battles and casualties. All fighting units had transport support stationed behind the line to bring up rations, ammunition and equipment. Royal Fusilier Sergeant Sidney Gill spent most of the war coordinating supplies and transport. He wrote a daily diary and he was an accomplished artist. His sketches show the life and work of the horses behind the lines. The Transport Officer Royal Fusilier Lieutenant C.F. Doncaster of the 17th Battalion was appointed Transport Officer at the end of World War One. He was in charge of 50 men, 13 riding horses, 43 draught horses, mules and pack animals and all the carts, limbers, feed and equipment which went with them. These animals hauled ammunition and ration carts, field ambulances and heavy guns. Mules usually carried shells and rifle ammunition to the front line. Like the fighting men they suffered many casualties. After the war these requirements were greatly eased. Men and animals were no longer in the trenches but in lodgings. Their jobs were now to help with rebuilding everything which had been damaged. Quiet times Away from the front line there was plenty of time to indulge in the lighter side of life. Shoeing competitions were held for the farriers and horse shows for the artillery with the guns and harnesses gleaming. Even in the desert in Palestine in March 1917, they had a race meeting at Rafa. Events included the Promised Land Stakes, the Anzac Steeplechase, and even a Jerusalem Scurry for mules only. “We had a little steeplechase course put up, and jumping competitions… the summer was really lovely”.   “We won the Brigade competition hands down, and our men, limbers, cookers, horses and mules were perfect – 238? Marks out of a possible 250. We hope to win the divisional competition tomorrow, and after that the Corps and finally the Army! We were ambitious you see. The pains the men take are incredible; they even sent home for ribbons for the horses’ tails, and the cooker was hidden in a shed so that competitors should not see our preparations” Christopher Stone, 22nd battalion Royal Fusiliers 1918 17th Battalion Royal Fusiliers - Brigade Horse show. Private Hix’s team of blacks won as usual. 1917 Named after the battle, ‘Oppy’ was found abandoned by the 22nd Royal Fusiliers ‘Thin to the point of emaciation…the section kicked in…to buy oats and fodder’. Oppy Wood, 1917. Evening by John Nash National Library Scotland
  8. 8. War Horse Warrior The horse the Germans could not kill. Bullets, bombs and shellfire could not stop Warrior the war horse. He cheated death many times during the battles of the Somme, Ypres, Passchendale and Cambrai. A born survivor, he was an inspiration to the soldiers of the Canadian Cavalry Brigade. Warrior went to war in 1915 with General Jack Seely. He never flinched under fire, only occasionally turning his head to look at the smoke from a shell burst. His finest hour came when he led the charge of 1,000 Canadian Cavalry horses across open ground towards Moreuil Wood. A quarter of the men and half the horses were killed during the battle but they managed to stop the German advance. Warrior survived without a scratch. In 1918 he returned to England and took part in the victory parade. The story of his courage has inspired many books, films and plays. Warrior returned home to the Isle of Wight where he died in 1941. A Soldiers Kiss Only a dying Horse! Pull off the gear, And slip the needless bit from frothing jaws, Drag it aside there, leaving the roadway clear, The Battery thunders on with scarce a pause. Prone by the shell-swept highway there it lies, With quivering limbs, as fast the life-tide fails, Dark films are closing o’er the faithful eyes, That mutely plead for aid where none avails. Onward the Battery rolls, but one there speeds, Needlessly of comrades voice or bursting shell, Back to the wounded friend who lonely bleeds Beside the lonely highway where he fell. Only a dying Horse! He swiftly kneels, Lifts the limp head and hears the shivering sigh, Kisses his friend, while down his cheek there steals, Sweet pity’s tear; “ Goodbye Old Man, Goodbye “. No honours wait him, Medal, Badge or Star, Though scarce could war a kindlier died unfold; He bears within his breast, more precious far, Beyond the gift of King, a heart of Gold. By Henry Chappell Did you know the most widely used animals in war have been horses? Early wars were fought on horseback but as tanks and planes were built horses were ridden into battle less and less. World War One saw the last major use of horses on the battlefield. At the start of the First World War the British army had 23,000 horses. Within a fortnight seven times that number had been bought from farmers, businesses and private owners. Horses of all shapes, sizes and breeds. Over a million horses and mules were bought from all over the world. By the end of the war, approximately 500,000 horses had died. The lucky ones were able to return home to Britain. Those in poorer health were often sold to local people or sent to the slaughterhouse. 1830 The Duke of Wellington’s horse, Copenhagen was buried with Full Military honours in 1830 at the age of 22. 1934 Dorothy Brooke founds the ‘Old War Horse Memorial Hospital’ to provide a free veterinary clinic for ex-war horses in Cairo © Estate of Fortunio Matania by kind permission of the Blue Cross © The Brooke
  9. 9. Military Mascots A mascot doesn't sniff out bombs, or stand guard or send messages. So why are they such an important part of army life? Mascots have traditionally been thought to bring luck and are the symbol of a group but more than that they provide love and companionship. Mascots official and unofficial have supported men of all ranks through times of great hardship. Times spent far away from home and family when death seemed certain and hope a long way away. The story of the mascot is one of devotion and morale. 1775 The first recorded mascot – the Royal Welsh Fusiliers goat. 1884 Queen Victoria presented the Welsh Fusiliers with a Kashmir goat, called Billy or William Windsor. All of the mascots of The Welsh Fusiliers take this name. Bobby – Indian Black Buck (Official Fusilier Mascot) Originally the mascot of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, the mascot was adopted by The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers when the four Fusilier regiments merged in 1968. There have been a long line of Bobby's...or Charlie's and Billy's. They have many stories to tell…. The last Bobby died in 2005, little did anyone realise that he may be the last in a long line of mascots. In 2001 Bobby spent time at the Tower of London, the Regimental Headquarters. He had only come for a short stay whilst his Battalion were on tour but whilst he was at the Tower Foot and Mouth disease broke out and Bobby was was forced to stay for fifteen months. On another occasion a Drum Major made the mistake of walking too close to Bobby - it was a painful mistake, ending in a pair of torn trousers and a sore behind. Both belonging to the Drum Major. We fed him... “every 2 hours for 8 weeks, then every 3 hours for about a month...until he was weaned off and onto a solid diet of feed pellets and hay” Donald Duck (Unofficial Fusilier Mascot) "No duck, probably, in history has had a more distinguished career" Picked up by the 9th battalion in Iraq Donald had originally been intended for dinner but his winning personality saw him survive Christmas, becoming a well loved figure in the battalion and travelling everywhere they went. He even gets a mention in battalion orders: Donald gave the battalion a scare being reported missing after the battle of Mulazzano. Once again he appears in the battalion orders: Sadly Donald died in 1945, never returning to his native Iraq. For his services to the battalion he was awarded the Africa Star. Donald's body was stuffed and brought back to England and presented to the Colonel of the Regiment General Sir Reginald May, at the Army and Navy Club. His mounted head is now on display at The Fusilier Museum, at the Tower of London. Leave - No.1. Fusilier Duck, D. (Q.M.'s. Stores) is granted fourteen days' leave with higher rate of ration allowance whilst attached to the Garrison Adjudant's duckpond as from 2nd June 1944 for the purposes of recreational training Punishment, etc.: 0000001 Fus. Duck, D (Q.M. Stores). When on active service, absent from 1500 hours 17th September 1944 until apprehended by a sister battalion at 1800 hours 18th September 1944. Awarded 7 days confined to hutch and forfeits one days food. Four days' punishment remitted on laying an egg © Crown Copyright 2012 by kind permission of The Royal Welsh Fusiliers by kind permission of The Staffordshire Regiment Museum by kind permission of The Royal Welsh Fusiliers
  10. 10. Dogs Do you know that dogs have their own regiment? The 1st Military Dog Working Regiment trains military working dogs and their handlers. Detection dogs – used to sniff out bombs and explosives. Attack dogs – used to protect people and property. Companion Dogs – used to aid the recovery of wounded soldiers. Veterinary Corps The primary aim of the Royal Army Veterinary Corps is to ensure that service animals are properly cared for in order that their fitness for duty is maximised. Today the corps main duties involve the care of ceremonial animals and the finding, training and maintenance of military dogs. Ceremonial Occasions Horses have a long and distinguished history in the British army. Until World War I horses provided transport for supplies and chargers for the cavalry. The army horses of today make up the ceremonial units of the Household Cavalry and the Royal Horse Artillery. Household Cavalry – a mounted regimental unit who guard the Queen on ceremonial occasions. Royal Horse Artillery – fire the royal salutes in Hyde Park for Royal Anniversaries and State Occasions. Bats, Cats, and Caterpillars… Some great ideas which didn’t work Do you know the jobs that the animals in the army do today? As bigger and better machinery has been built the army have needed fewer and fewer animals. However there are still some jobs that animals do best. Only dogs and horses are regularly used by the army and there is a special Army Veterinary Corps to look after them. Animals in the Armed Forces Today Terrorist-fighting gerbils Gerbils were trained to detect adrenalin in scared suspects. The trouble was they couldn’t tell the difference between terrorist's and everybody else. Spy cats Equip cats with recording devices and set them loose in enemy territory? Fine, until the cat sent to a foreign embassy gets run over by a taxi. Bat bombers How about strapping a tiny incendiary bomb to a bat? Great idea, until a bat set fire to its own base. Eavesdropping caterpillars Insert tiny electronic recorders into caterpillars and drop them in enemy areas to pick up information. Someone forgot that caterpillars turn into butterflies. Royal Fusilier Officers at the Opening of Parliament 2010 © Crown Copyright 2011 © Crown Copyright 2011 2006 The PDSA Animal Cemetery (Essex) re-opens. 12 winners of the PDSA Dickin Medal are buried here. 2010 1st Military Working Dog Regiment, Royal Army Veterinary Corps, formed.
  11. 11. In Memoriam There are many ways we remember and honour those who have fallen in times of war. Memorials range from literature and poetry, to artworks, statues and medals. The Animals War Memorial Dispensary RSPCA, Kilburn (1932) The building serves to remember all animals who have been killed in war. The RSPCA Dispensary was opened on 10th November 1932. In its first year it treated 6,000 animals and its work continues today. Memorials There are over 100,000 war memorials in the U.K. alone. Only a small minority are built for and dedicated to animals. British Berlin Airlift (National Memorial Arboretum 2001) In memory of those killed delivering food and supplies to Berlin, June 1948 - May 1949. The eagle represents the British & Commonwealth contribution. TOGETHER Splashing along the boggy woods all day, And over brambled hedge and holding clay, I shall not think of him: But when the watery fields grow brown and dim, And hounds have lost their fox, and horses tire, I know that he'll be with me on my way Home through the darkness to the evening fire. He's jumped each stile along the glistening lanes; His hand will be upon the mud-soaked reins; Hearing the saddle creak, He'll wonder if the frost will come next week. I shall forget him in the morning light; And while we gallop on he will not speak: But at the stable-door he'll say good-night (Sassoon, Counter-Attack and Other Poems. 1918) The Dickin Award By kind permission of the Arizona Daily Star 1945 Mary of Exeter was awarded the Dickin Medal for endurance in service. She survived a hawk attack, shot, shrapnel and the bombing of her pigeon loft. 2004 Animals in War Memorial unveiled in Park Lane, London. The RSPCA Animals War Memorial Clinic in Kilburn, London © RSPCA Polar Bear (National Memorial Arboretum 1998) Dedicated to the 49th Light Infantry West Riding Division who were stationed in Iceland in WWII. Cavalry Hyde Park, London (1906) Dedicated to the cavalry of the British Empire who lost their lives in all wars. Bronze cast from captured enemy guns. Winged Victory is flanked by camels, mules, elephants, dogs and pigeons, all animals used in war. Sculpted by Frederick Brook-Hitch. © Since 1943 animals at the front and behind the lines have been recognised for their gallant services. Created by the British veterinary charity PDSA, the medal has been awarded 64 times – to 28 dogs, 32 pigeons, 3 horses and 1 cat. G.I. Joe In October 1943 flew 20 miles in 20 minutes to prevent at least 100 British casualties. He was presented with his medal at the Tower of London in 1946 Au Pigeon Soldat Brussels, Belgium (1931) Remembering all pigeon fanciers and pigeons who served throughout WWI. Imperial Camel Corps Embankment, London (22 July 1921) Dedicated to all who served with the Imperial Camel Corps - British, Australian, New Zealand, and Indian in Egypt, Sinai and Palestine, 1916-1918.