Monday, 24 July 2017

Memorial Monday

#1 here, to tell you what I was up to last Friday. Several months ago, I was asked by the British Percheron Horse society, of which I am a member, if I would be willing to represent them at a very special event in France. An organisation called AWAMO (Australian War Animal Memorial Organisation) was going to unveil a memorial to the animals that had lost their lives in WWI, working alongside the military. There were many, many horses, both light and heavy, plus mules, donkeys, dogs and even pigeons. Whereas the people who died in that horrendous conflict have many memorials to them, the animals remained forgotten victims. It is the Australians who started the creation of these documents with help and sponsorship from many others.

This particular monument is in Pozières, in the Somme, the site of the greatest loss of human and animal life for the Australian army during WWI. It is a five hour drive north from where I live, so I set out on Thursday afternoon, so as to be ready for the event on Friday morning.

The ceremony took most of the morning. There were high-level military representatives from Australia, New Zealand, the UK, France, Belgium, and Canada, as well as several prominent Australian politicians and veterinaries. There were several horses there, plus a pony and a donkey. One of the horses modelled a spectacular rug of purple poppies (which represent animals that died in war) that had been handmade in Australia:

Four monuments were dedicated: one to Australian animals, one to New Zealand animals, one to all animals, and one to veterinarians. They were all beautiful:

It was one of the most moving ceremonies I have ever attended, and I have never seen so many grown men cry as they made speeches. Even more touching was this: The British army was in the process of moving some of its military dogs from Germany back to the UK, and they stopped by to take part. Meet the dogs of war:


Are you noticing something here? Yes! One of the most commonly used breeds by the British Army is the English Springer Spaniel, just like Tommy! They are used as search and detection dogs and are considered the best of the best!

Of course, they do use Malinois Belgian Shepherds also, as protection dogs:

Pigeons were used a lot in WWI to send messages, and it was lovely to see some there:

A team of draft horses brought pigeons that were released during the ceremony:

 Some of the military brass:

It was so touching to see these animals finally getting recognition for their work and dedication. I will finish with a video of the Last Call being played by a bugler from the Royal Army Veterinary Corps:

 It was such a privilege to be there. This was the wreath I laid on behalf of the British Percheron Horse Society:

PS: Many thanks for all the enquiries and good wishes concerning Vidock. He is coming home today and will be on box rest for a couple of weeks.


  1. that was touching... we had to sniffle some tears away... what a wonderful tribute to the fourlegged soldiers... I totally love the poppy blanket...

  2. We agree, it is really nice to see all the animals that served in the war being recognized and appreciated. Such a nice ceremony. Thanks for sharing this.
    Purrs Georgia,Julie and JJ

  3. WOW. What an amazing ceremony, and what a huge honor to be part of it.

  4. Thank you Virginia! Rxx

  5. Beautiful ceremony and memorial. No dry eyes here. It is only right that these heroics animals finally get the recognition and thanks they deserve. What an honour to be able to be part of such an amazing day.

  6. That sounds like such a great ceremony. Glad you were a part of it. Great pictures of the event.

  7. What a lovely remembrance for all the animals that served so well. Our mom saw all the pictures you put on the book of faces too.

  8. I was so moved while reading your post! How fantastic that some humans remembered that animals were there in that war too. #1 must have been so proud to be asked to be a part of it!

  9. That sure is wonderful and how cool you got to be there!

  10. the wreath you took is is sad that there is always so much loss of life to insure our freedom. but we are glad that they are not forgotten

  11. Such a beautiful ceremony of Remembrance for all those animals who lost their lived during the war. It is good to know they have been remembered. A great honour for you to represent the British Percheron Horse Society.

  12. What a wonderful ceremony and how great that you were able to participate. Thanks for sharing with all of us.

  13. Very nice, our military service animals are due all respect for what they gave. At our local Memorial Day parade one of the marching entries is for war dogs.

  14. I'm so glad you were asked to participate. We should remember all whose lives were lost and those who served. Thank you.

  15. That's so wonderful, and moving ! How cool that you could attend such a lovely remembrance for all these heroes with four paws ! We're glad people offer them that ceremony, they really deserve it.Purrs

  16. Une bonne idée de rendre hommage à tout ceux qui sont morts pour la folie des hommes, eux qui j'avaient rien demander.
    Ils méritent cet hommage.
    Bonne soirée

  17. Oh Wow! I am all weepy here! What a wonderful tribute and about time!
    I am so glad you were there and that you have shared this with us.
    You Rock!!!
    Love Barb


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