Stories of Animals in War
As we approach Remembrance Day, we’re honouring and remembering all animals who served in wartime.
During the World Wars, mules carried artillery, horses transported troops and hauled field guns, pigeons delivered crucial messages, cats served as companions and kept ships free of vermin, and dogs have served as messengers, medical assistants, bomb detectors and search and rescue workers.
Here are a few stories showcasing this role animals played during wartime.
Bunny: First World War Horse Hero
In 1914, Bunny was one of 18 horses chosen from the Toronto Mounted Police Unit to be sent overseas with Canada’s military during the First World War. After faithfully serving for four years, Bunny was the only horse of the 18 sent from Toronto to survive the war.
Bunny’s contribution was honoured in 2002 by Canadian Senator Lowell Murray, who stood up in chambers to acknowledge Bunny and Canada’s war horses.
Read more about his story here.
Quebec horse goes to war
Morning Glory was another Canadian horse who served overseas during the First World War. In 1915, Morning Glory travelled to France from Sweetsburg (now part of Cowansville), Que. with her rider, Lt.-Col. George Harold Bake r. Baker thought he would ride his beloved horse into battle for his country, only to be separated from her when they arrived overseas.
Morning Glory, who was chosen by a commander as his personal mount, survived the war. Baker would never see his horse again, as he sadly died in battle. At the end of the war, Baker’s friend ensured Morning Glory’s safe return home.
Read all about her story and how she made it back to Canada in 1918 at the end of the war, here.
Two special friends return to Paradise
This story is about Fritz the war horse and Bruno the sheep dog, who made such an impact on Lieutenant Colonel C.E. Bent of the 15th Battalion that he adopted them and brought them home to Canada with him at the end of the First World War.
Fritz initially travelled with Russian forces before being captured by Germans and then eventually a Canadian battalion. Bruno, on the other hand, was found by the 15th battalion in Belgium and was adopted as their mascot.
Read more here about the bonds these animals formed with the soldiers, their retirement in Paradise, Nova Scotia and why they have been listed among the Hometown Heroes of Nova Scotia by Parks Canada.
Pigeon awarded medal after WWII
A carrier pigeon, named Beachcomber by Canadian soldiers, was the first to bring news of the landing at Dieppe. In 1944, Beachcomber was awarded the Dickin Medal for his delivery of this crucial message.
Read more about it here.
Animals in War pin
The Ontario SPCA releases a new commemorative Animals in War collectible pin each year, and this year a pigeon was chosen as the symbol to remember all the animals who have served, and continue to serve, alongside Canada’s veterans.
Due to the global pandemic, the Ontario SPCA has increased its commitment to veterans in 2020 by donating $2.50 from each pin sold to Royal Canadian Legion branches across Ontario.
To order your pin, visit ontariospca.ca/remember or call the Ontario SPCA at 1-888-668-7722 ext. 360 to place your order by phone. Order by November 4 to help ensure delivery by Remembrance Day.
Speaking for the ones who can’t speak for themselves
Keep up the good work speaking for the ones who can’t speak for themselves. A society who cares for their animals is a better society. Thanks for your good work!