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Friday, December 06, 2013

Dogs Who Fought In World War I: Over 20,000 Canines Trained For Britain's Front Line, New Records Show

British World War I photo of war dogs carrying First Aid kits to battlefield victims, courtesy of the BBC

Newly uncovered records from World War I, courtesy of the U.K. family history website, findmypast.co.uk, show that over 20,000 dogs, many of them family pets donated by their owners to defend their country, were trained for frontline duties during the first World War. This article posted just a few days ago on the BBC website, reports that these canines, many of whom were trained by the War dog School of Instruction formed in 1917, "carried aid to the wounded, took messages between the lines and sniffed out enemy soldiers." The article also includes a brief but extraordinary slide show which we believe was culled from microfiched newspapers printed during the war.

Lt. Col Richardson, the man in charge of the War Dog School of Instruction, was quoted in 1918 as saying, "The skill, courage and tenacity of these dogs has been amazing...when all other communications have been cut, the messenger dogs have made their way, and in many cases, have brought messages of vital importance."

And today, a historian for findmypast.co.uk reiterated what we all know about our faithful dogs: "Throughout human history, the bond between man and dogs has been unbreakable, and the role these animals played during the war was of paramount importance."


Unknown said...

Mans best friend is indeed mans best friend.
Have a fabulous Friday.
Best wishes Molly

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