This weekend we will be remembering the millions of men and women who gave their lives on behalf of their country. In Great Britain, Armistice Day is observed with a tribute of silence at the 11thhour, of the 11thday, of the 11thmonth, when the great war ended.
Not only will we remember our human heroes, but our four-legged heroes too. Millions of men, women and animals of all kinds died during the wars. Many dogs were used in a variety of ways including as messengers, sentry dogs and casualty dogs. Between 1914 and 1939, 54 animals were awarded the Dickin medal for honour, service and bravery. Amongst those awarded were 18 dogs and 1 cat.
Possibly the most decorated dog of all was Sergeant Stubby who was smuggled onboard a ship of American soldiers during the First World War. He went on to receive the title of Sergeant after serving in the trenches for 18 months. He helped locate injured soldiers, warned of imminent gas attacks and was even credited with detecting a German Spy and assisting in his capture.
It wasn’t just cats and dogs who served in the Wars either, but horses and pigeons too. In fact, it is thought that around 100,000 of the latter were used as messengers in the Great War and double that in the second world war.
The sacrifices made by so many animals is hard to fathom. Don’t forget to pay tribute to the animals of the war as well as our human veterans this remembrance Sunday.