By Jilly Cooper
Jilly Cooper has written a tribute to the function of animals in wartime. From the pigeons wearing very important messages to and from the beleaguered urban through the Seige of Paris to canine sniffing out mines for the British invasion strength in international conflict II. A brilliant checklist of man's inhumanity to animals, and an incredible tale of braveness.
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Above all, however, I am grateful to my own household: Claudia Wolfers, who dealt with the correspondence, and who with Stanley and Vivian Hicks, looked after me, and made it possible, just after we moved to Gloucestershire, for me to isolate myself from the packing chests and the burst pipes, and to finish the book. It only remains for me to thank my husband, Leo Cooper, for his photographic contributions to the book. By his vision, kindness, wide knowledge of military matters, and sense of humour, he is really the only begetter.
The noble wolfhound of the Irish Guards and the jaunty goat of the Royal Welch Fusiliers are splendid examples. But countless others are used to test explosives, chemical weapons and a wide number of vaccines and have died agonizing, hideous deaths. One can only hope that our memorial will serve as a constant reminder of the literally millions of animals who perished in our service and for their countries and how appallingly we treated them. When people pass this memorial perhaps they will remember not just the horses and the dogs, but the mules, camels, oxen, elephants, pigeons, cats, canaries and many more.
Perhaps it was based on an act of heroism which occurred during one of the most desperate attacks along the Aisne. A boy from the Gloucestershire Regiment noticed that a horse, struck by a shell, was in great pain and neighing piteously for water. Although the Germans were closing in the boy hunted round for and found some water. When the position was retaken next day, the horse and the Gloucestershire lad were found together, dead. There is no doubt either that the horses got just as fond of their owners.