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Remembering the Animals of War

04 August 2014

UK - As Britain marks 100 years since the outbreak of the First World War, Blue Cross is today remembering the animals of war.

Blue Cross treated over 50,000 sick and injured horses and 18,000 dogs during the Great War, funded by donations from the British public.

Blue Cross World War One collectionFounded in 1897 as Our Dumb Friends League, the charity gained its current name from its valuable work helping animals in both world wars.

A Blue Cross flag – to distinguish from the Red Cross facilities for injured men – flew over animal hospitals across the battlefields of Europe and identified animal ambulances and vital medical supplies sent to the front lines.

It is estimated that eight million horses and donkeys died in the First World War while carrying ammunition and supplies to the frontline.

Dogs too were a huge help to soldiers on the battlefields as they were used to run messages, detect mines, and act as patrol dogs among many other tasks.

Perhaps slightly less known is the number of pigeons that served during the war and risked their lives by carrying vital messages over long distances.

Many people and animals fought heroically during 1914 to 1918 and Blue Cross believes that they are all deserving of some recognition - and hopes that this year, you will remember them all too.

You can view the Blue Cross World War One collection here.

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