Animal Bravery in Wartime. (The National Archives)

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American Red Star Animal Relief, organized by the American Humane Association, started a veterinary corps and recruited experienced veterinarians, blacksmiths, and stable hands to serve in its ranks. The organization created and distributed over 80, booklets to American soldiers that detailed first aid for horses, and it supplied veterinary ambulances and medical supplies to Army camps.

American Red Star Animal Relief. The new technology of machine guns and tanks made these efforts by the American Red Star Animal Relief all the more important because horses sustained much graver injuries. The Red Star now works on its own, responding to disasters such as Hurricane Sandy and animal cruelty cases.

The essential role that horses and mules played in World War I did not go unrecognized: the U. Army Quartermaster Museum erected a plaque dedicated to the horses and mules that served in the American Expeditionary Forces during the Great War.

Peter Hicks

It states, "A fitting tribute to their important services has been given by General John J. Pershing who has written 'The army horses and mules proved of inestimable value in prosecuting the war to a successful conclusion. They were found in all the theaters of preparation and operation doing their silent but faithful work without the faculty of hoping for any reward or compensation.

Army Quartermaster Museum. By the time soldiers noticed the presence of mustard gas on the battlefield, it was often too late. Paul Bartsch of the Division of Mollusks in the U. The slugs would visibly indicate their discomfort by closing their breathing pores and compressing their bodies, and soldiers in the trenches would quickly put on their gas masks to protect themselves from harmful levels of gas. The "slug brigade" ended up saving many lives.

What all of our soldiers sacrifice and suffer is beyond words to describe. This Veterans Day, as we remember and give thanks for the brave men and women who have given so much in the service of our country, let us also remember the animals who provided them aid, comfort, and companionship. Skip to main content. Blog Home About Archive. How did animals even slugs serve in World War I? Pigeons Pigeons played a crucial role in communication during World War I because of their speed and ability to fly at great heights. Stubby with his numerous military decorations Stubby was a Staffordshire terrier mix puppy adopted by Private J.

Robert Conroy and Stubby in France His sense of smell allowed him to detect enemy gas before the men, and he would run through the camp barking, sounding the alarm, and saving the lives of the troops. Horses and Mules Dogs and pigeons played a crucial a role in World War I, but horses and mules are perhaps the animals most commonly associated with the Great War.

Slugs By the time soldiers noticed the presence of mustard gas on the battlefield, it was often too late. Gas mask from World War I What all of our soldiers sacrifice and suffer is beyond words to describe.

Genealogy Introduction—Military Research at the National Archives: Pension Records

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Beyond the Call of Duty: Animal Bravery in Wartime

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America Participates. Back to Our Roots. Business History. Kids in museums. Julia Child Recipe of the Week. As a consequence, many campaigners suffered nervous breakdowns and ill health. Their sacrifices must not go unsung. Well before the first trenches were dug, questions were being asked about the motives for and conduct of the war by an expanding anti-war coalition, fronted by some of Britain's most distinguished people. Denounced furiously by Rudyard Kipling as "human rubbish" , Britain's dissenters included Liberals, Labour supporters and socialists; a striking number were women.

They ranged from the aristocratic philosopher Bertrand Russell, who lost his Cambridge lectureship over his activism, to the socialist James Keir Hardie, raised in a Glasgow slum; the lion tamer John Smith Clarke; and the train driver's daughter Alice Wheeldon. There were aristocratic pacifists like the conscientious objectors — or "conchies" — Clifford Allen and Stephen Hobhouse; feminists like Catherine Marshall and Sylvia Pankhurst whose stance estranged her from her pro-war mother Emmeline; and the famous exposer of Belgian atrocities in the Congo ED Morel, imprisoned on obscure charges for criticising secret diplomacy.

While anti-war organisations such as the Women's International League , the Society of Friends , the Union of Democratic Control , and the No-Conscription Fellowship differed on many matters, including whether it was all right to work in non-combat roles, what brought them together was a sense that behind the rhetoric of a "glorious, delicious war" for civilisation and freedom lay rather more grubby interests, not necessarily those of ordinary Britons.

Some, admitting they too felt drawn to nationalism and war fever, believed this was not so much a war against militarism as a war between militarisms. In claiming to fight militarism in Europe, asked Labour leader Ramsay MacDonald , was Britain actually giving it "hospitality, harbourage and welcome" at home? As the commemorative drums of national unity start to beat again to rally us behind dominant narratives, it is time to remember that more than 20, men, remembered by the Peace Pledge Union , refused conscription after it was introduced in , seeing it as a violation of freedom.

Then, as now, dissidents — which included thousands of Clydeside workers who staged walkouts — understood that the belligerent question "do you love your country? The distinguished economist JA Hobson , neither socialist nor pacifist, saw the war as rational only for the capitalist ruling classes, who stood to benefit from the "ever-worsening burden of armaments". Wasn't massive state expenditure better directed towards a "beautiful school … a grander sight than a battleship"?

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To be anti-war was to actively fight poverty, mediate for peace, build schools and workshops, undertake relief work, and provide food and refuge for troops and civilians alike. Many critics of the war also understood that it was being waged for stakes outside Europe in great tracts of colonised land in Asia and Africa.

Beyond the Call of Duty Animal Bravery in Wartime The Nati by Peter Hicks

While it is necessary to acknowledge the sacrifices made by soldiers from these regions, it is dishonest to assimilate them to Kipling's narrative of "everybody's war" for freedom. These were colonised subjects whose war this was certainly not, and in whose countries Britain was doing anything but defending freedom — its own occupying troops as unwelcome as German ones in Belgium.

It is no surprise, then, that many prominent anti-war leaders, including the feminist Sylvia Pankhurst and Labour politician Fenner Brockway , became trenchant critics of British imperialism, which believed itself better than the German brand. At a Leeds anti-war conference, resolutions were also passed calling for the independence of Ireland, India and Egypt.