Mule Lines : British military mules in the spotlight

I am pleased to announce the publication of a book which describes and honours the service of the military mule. It could be said that mules have had walk-, or trot-on roles in many volumes of military history, but I believe this is the first book in which the British military mule has taken centre stage without having to share the limelight with horses and camels!

Front cover to the 'Mule in Military Service' by Anthony Clayton (Book Guild, 2017)The author is SCS member, Dr Anthony Clayton, who was put in touch with us by the British Mule Society as he researched the book. The Mule in Military Service is an in-depth study into the use and treatment of military mules and the author looks at how these creatures have been used in various wars from the campaigns of the Duke of Wellington, through colonial expeditions, to the two world wars and more recent operations. The number of mules used by the British Army in these conflicts would have been huge, but their story has been marred by the hardship and often unnecessary cruelty they suffered. Anthony hopes that his book will portray the vital part mules have played in the wars and operations of the British and imperial-era Indian armies. Needless to say, the campaign in Macedonia features strongly in the chapter on the First World War.

The Mule in Military Service is a slim paperback of 116 pages, but packs in a lot of information and is illustrated with 10 photos/illustrations. It was published by Guild Publishing Ltd in August 2017 and can be bought from a number of online retailers (ISBN-10: 1912083663 / ISBN-13: 978-1912083664).

Anthony has also contributed an article to the latest New Mosquito (NM37) – Animal Welfare in the Salonika Campaign 1915-1918 – which is a description of the organisation, activities and challenges of the Army Veterinary Corps in the campaign.

Anthony was Senior Lecturer at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst for 29 years (1965-94) and, as one of Britain’s leading military historians, was made a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Academiques in 1988 in recognition of his expertise in French military history. The Mule in Military Service is his first foray into animal history, but he is no stranger to publishing and these are just some of his books likely to interest those fascinated by the Salonika campaign:

  • France, Soldiers, and Africa (1988) – contains a useful introduction to many of the French colonial units which served with the Armée d’Orient
  • Paths of Glory: The French Army, 1914-1918 (2003)
  • The British Officer: Leading the Army from 1660 to the Present (2006)

Author: SCS Web Editor

Robin Braysher joined the SCS in 2003 and soon after became editor of the Society's journal - 'The New Mosquito' - a role he held until 2008. He then became the Society's web editor, a role he seems unable to shake off. His interest in the campaign comes from his grandfather, Fred, who served as a cyclist with the BSF from 1915 to 1917, mainly in the Struma valley. Opinions expressed in these posts are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Society.