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Animals at war - They had no choice


Horse, farm dog and Land Girls delivering milk around Downend. (Frenchay Village Museum)

Animals played an enormous part in the First World War both at home and abroad.

Local animals were requisitioned by the army and sent off into battle despite the protests of their owners. Horses and mules were trained for battle and transport and dogs as rat catchers and messengers.

Pigeons and canaries were used as couriers or poison gas detectors.

Those working animals left behind; plough horses, sheep dogs and cart horses, continued to do their usual, valuable service. Animals played a big part in keeping up moral. They brought much needed comfort and support to many through the hardships of war.


Many fine horses were requisitioned for the front. These were horses returning by train after exercising. (Thornbury & District Museum)

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