Trib­ute to 16m an­i­mals that served

Scottish Daily Mail - - News -

AC­TRESS Jenny Sea­grove led trib­utes to the mil­lions of an­i­mals – from horses and dogs to slugs and glow worms – that played vi­tal roles in the First World War at a spe­cial re­mem­brance event.

It was at­tended by an­i­mal char­i­ties, three mem­bers of the House­hold Cavalry on their mounts, and more dogs than you could shake a stick at.

A minute’s si­lence – apart from the odd yap – was ob­served at the An­i­mals in War Me­mo­rial at Hyde Park, be­fore Miss Sea­grove, 61, spoke about the more than 16mil­lion an­i­mals used by both sides for trans­port, com­mu­ni­ca­tion and com­pan­ion­ship in the war.

The ac­tress, who runs the Mane Chance horse sanc­tu­ary in Sur­rey, said: ‘An­i­mals have al­ways played a part in the field of war. They have no choice, but they do have our undy­ing grat­i­tude.’

Horses, don­keys, mules and camels were used not only in cavalry di­vi­sions but also for car­ry­ing wounded sol­diers, food, wa­ter, am­mu­ni­tion and med­i­cal sup­plies. ‘Mil­lions of equines died ei­ther in com­bat or through cold, hunger and dis­ease,’ Miss Sea­grove said.

Dogs, mean­while, were trained to carry mes­sages, serve as sen­tries and lo­cate wounded or dy­ing sol­diers on the bat­tle­field.

Miss Sea­grove also men­tioned some of the less well-known re­cruits from the an­i­mal world. Slugs, for ex­am­ple, were used to de­tect toxic gases, cats to hunt rats that plagued troops, and glow worms in jars for light in the trenches.

Poppy wreaths were laid at the me­mo­rial by Miss Sea­grove and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of char­i­ties in­clud­ing the RSPCA.

Me­mo­rial: Dogs with pur­ple pop­pies – in re­mem­brance of war an­i­mals – yes­ter­day

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