Gathering in London to remember animals of war | Dogs Trust

Dogs Trust

Gathering in London to remember animals of war

Two and four legged guests gather at annual memorial service to pay their respects to fallen animals

Today [Friday 10th November] a group of people and animals joined together for a moment of reflection at the annual Animals in War event. Gathered in Park Lane, London representatives from some of the UK’s leading animal welfare charities paid their respects to the many animals who have lost their lives in human conflicts.

Thirteen years on since the unveiling of the monument, guests gathered to the pay their respects once again. Representatives from Petplan Charitable Trust, Dogs Trust, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, Blue Cross, Brooke Hospital for Animals, Cats Protection, , Irish Draught Horse Society, Irish Terriers, Japan Animal Welfare Society,  Kennel Club, Mane Chance Sanctuary, NOWZAD, PDSA,  Redwings Horse Sanctuary, RSPCA, Service Dogs UK, SPANA , World Horse Welfare and more paid their respects in a two minute silence to remember and reflect. There were also readings from guest speakers and two local school children read poetry they had written inspired by the Animals of War.

Dogs Trust Chief Executive, Adrian Burder said:

“The Animals in War memorial service is always a poignant occasion. It’s incredible to see so many animals and organisations coming together each year in London to pause and take time to remember the animals who gave their services to the war effort. It’s vital we continue to remember the animals of war and ensure they are never forgotten.”

The Animals in War Memorial was unveiled in 2004 by HRH the Princess Royal. Trustees of the Animals in War Memorial Fund raised the £2million needed to build the monument through a national appeal and the consequent generosity of many individual donors, charities and companies.

Today, guest speakers included: Jilly Cooper, Deborah Meaden and Jan McLoughlin.

Representing the next generation, two local school children were also present after winning the Animals in War Poetry competition facilitated by the UK’s largest animal welfare charity, Dogs Trust. Reading out their winning poems were, Vigyathri Neela from Southville Junior school with poem, Powerful Puppies and Marwa Mujadidi from Goldbeaters Primary School with poem, Dogs In War.

Key Facts

  • Eight million horses and donkeys died in the First World War whilst transporting ammunition and supplies to the frontline. Many mules also served courageously on the Western Front and in the overwhelming heat of Burma, Eritrea and Tunisia during World War II.
  •  Thousands of dogs were used to run messages, lay telegraph wires, detect mines, dig out bomb victims and act as patrol dogs.  Many of these bold dogs battled on despite suffering injuries, showing courage beyond belief and loyalty to their handlers. 
  • More than 300,000 pigeons served Britain in the First and Second World War. They saved thousands of lives by carrying vital messages, over long distances.  These feathered heroes struggled on through all weathers, often injured and exhausted in order to carry the vital messages.
  • Many other animals served bravely throughout the years, including elephants, camels, oxen, bullocks, cats, canaries and even glow worms.

The Animals in War Memorial service is organised by Dogs Trust and the Petplan Charitable Trust.  Animals in attendance this year include horses from the Household Cavalry and Dogs Trust rescue dogs, Peanut the Terrier cross and Mavis the Border Collie.