Tribute to 16m animals that served
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