In this remembrance season it is appropriate to also remember those animals that served – and suffered – without which the BSF could not have functioned. Mules and horses are the most obvious, but there was also the humble, but vital, carrier pigeon.
If you haven’t already seen it, I do recommend the moving ‘Animals at War Memorial’ at Hyde Park Corner. Here is just a part of it, showing – appropriately for us – a battery mule, carrying the wheels of a mountain howitzer.
The monument depicts all animals that have played a part in Britain’s wars – you can see some on the frieze behind the mule – including pigeons, but in Lille, France, these ‘feathered heroes’ have their own memorial to their role in the Great War.