They had no choice …

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 mule at the Animals at War Memorial in London.

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.

An image of the French memorial to pigeons in the First World War, Lille.

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Author: Andy Hutt

Andy's interest in the campaign comes from his grandfather, Arthur, who served in Salonika as a sapper with the Royal Engineers from 1916-1918. Opinions expressed in these posts are personal and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Society.

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