Animals in War by Jilly Cooper

By Jilly Cooper

Jilly Cooper has written a tribute to the function of animals in wartime. From the pigeons wearing very important messages to and from the beleaguered urban in the course of the Seige of Paris to canine sniffing out mines for the British invasion strength in global warfare II. A bright list of man's inhumanity to animals, and an staggering tale of braveness.

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But there is no doubt of the invaluable part played by the AVC in winning the war. According to Haig, if Germany’s equine force had been as strong they could have broken the British and French armies. For its efforts ‘in mitigating animal suffering, in increasing the mobility of the mounted units, and for reducing animal wastage’, the Army Veterinary Corps richly deserved to have the prefix Royal added to its name in 1918. This painting, captioned, ‘Goodbye, Old Man’, was used to raise funds for Animal Relief in the USA.

When people pass this memorial perhaps they will remember not just the horses and the dogs, but the mules, camels, oxen, elephants, pigeons, cats, canaries and many more. Even the tiny glow-worm guided soldiers in the First World War. Remember them all. They had no choice. ’ I asked. ’ Anna Sewell: BLACK BEAUTY On the morning of Tuesday 20 July 1982, a new guard formed by the Blues and Royals Mounted Squadron rode out from Hyde Park Barracks to take over as the Guards at Whitehall. Well aware that they were the loveliest sight in London, they rode with pride, and the usual crowd gathered along the pavement to marvel and applaud.

In 1902 a parliamentary committee was set up. As a result, the Army Veterinary Corps was founded in 1903, with Major-General Frank Smith, a man of great vision and compassion, appointed Director-General. He vowed that in future the corps would keep animal suffering and wastage to a minimum. How triumphantly it was to achieve this aim despite appalling obstacles and setbacks will be seen in the next chapter. ’ INSCRIPTION ON THE WAR MEMORIAL TO HORSES AT ST JUDE ON THE HILL, HAMPSTEAD With the coming of the motor car and the bicycle, the horse population in England dwindled to such an extent that when war was declared in 1914, there was a huge dearth of suitable animals.

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