By Jilly Cooper
Jilly Cooper has written a tribute to the position of animals in wartime. From the pigeons wearing important messages to and from the beleaguered urban in the course of the Seige of Paris to canine sniffing out mines for the British invasion strength in international warfare II. A brilliant checklist of man's inhumanity to animals, and an astounding tale of braveness.
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Extra resources for Animals in War
T. MacFetridge and Major J. P. Warren for their permission to quote from two stories in their book, Tales of the Mountain Gunners, and to the authors of those stories, General B. Daunt and Major J. Nettlefield. Nor would this book have been written without help from the various histories of the PDSA and the RSPCA, and the official histories in both wars of the RAVC. -Col. Keith Morgan Jones of the RAVC who not only entertained me most splendidly at their headquarters at Melton Mowbray, but also lent me every help while I was writing the book.
Borrowed one, ran away with me. March 24: First night of shelling, horses picketed out in very swampy field. Rode big bay mare, ran away with me, terrified of running into motor lorry, steered for the ditch, she stopped. I came off. Sometimes, too, the soldiers felt the veterinary officers made very wrong decisions. In Animal World, the RSPCA printed a letter from some Royal Field Artillery officers describing their departure to France in 1916: At Southampton, we lost our dear Sailor, our prize horse, who caught the veterinary officer’s eye, who insisted he was too old, too thin and unfit for service.
Horses were first conscripted into armies sometime between 2000 and 1000 BC when a nomad tribe called the Hyksos invented a primitive form of chariot which could be drawn by a horse. With this weapon, they managed to overthrow the might of Egypt. A vast hurtling army of horses and chariots, raining down a torrent of sharp arrows, must have aroused the same kind of terror and panic we would feel today if a lot of Martians landed in spaceships. However, Egypt being a powerful nation soon drove out the Hyksos by inventing bigger and better chariots, this time drawn by two horses and carrying three men – one to drive and two to fire.