Animal MAGIC

ASSISTING THE MILITARY

A menagerie of dogs, pigeons, horses and even elephants served with the military in World War Two. Neil R Storey picks up the tale

BRITISH SOLDIERS PULLING A WAGON WITH A TEAM OF HORSES RECOVER SPENT SHELLS AT A BEACHSIDE TESTING RANGE, 1942
HULTON DEUTSCH/GETTY

Military veterans of the World War Two would seldom, if ever, talk of their experiences in the heat of battle, but if they did look back on those times they would talk with affection of the comradeship.

Some of the warmest smiles I have ever seen were on the faces of those who had memories of animals from their service life, be it the horse they found in a field that they rode bareback to reach the Dunkirk beaches, the camels and playful little jerboas of the desert, the puppies or kittens found in the ruins of a shattered village in France.

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