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Michael Thomson

Is there a monument to the animals who died?

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Michael Thomson

Hello. 

I was wondering if there is any monument on the Somme or in Flanders honouring all the animals who died in the Great War? 

 

The war took an indescribably terrible toll in human life and there are many wonderful, stirring and fitting monuments to the countless young men who gave their lives all over the Somme and Flanders, but at the same time the war took a very heavy toll on the lives of animals too, particularly horses and mules.

 

I was just wondering if there is any monument remembering these unwilling casualties? I know there was an organisation during the war that took care of the needs of horses (the Blue Cross if I recall correctly?). My wife and travelling companion is a huge animal lover and one of the things that upsets her is the thought of  how many horses died-so if there is any such monument it would be nice to take her to see it. 

 

Thanks!

 

 

 

Edited by Michael Thomson

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Michael Thomson

On a side note, am I correct in saying that the only cavalry charge of the First Battle of the Somme was undertaken by an Indian unit in an attack on High Wood? 

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keithmroberts

I think there are two. if your wife has good taste don't take her to Pozieres. Alternatively the animal memorial there might cure her.

 

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Steven Broomfield

the 58th (2nd/1st London) Division's memorial at (I think) Chippily, on the Somme, is in the form of a wounded artillery horse and its driver.

1 hour ago, Michael Thomson said:

On a side note, am I correct in saying that the only cavalry charge of the First Battle of the Somme was undertaken by an Indian unit in an attack on High Wood? 

 

Partly correct. The 20th Deccan Horse and the 7th Dragoon Guards of the Secunderabad Brigade of the 2nd Indian Cavalry Division both charged at High Wood. The 7th DG were British.

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AOK4

Isn't there a memorial with a horse in Vlamertinge as well?

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Ron Clifton
13 minutes ago, Steven Broomfield said:

the 58th (2nd/1st London) Division's memorial at (I think) Chippily, on the Somme, is in the form of a wounded artillery horse and its driver.

Chipilly, actually (sorry to nit-pick). I found it very moving.

 

http://lfpcheval.fr/le-monument-de-chipilly/

 

Ron

Edited by Ron Clifton

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seaJane

I don't know of one abroad or one specifically GW, but there is the Animals in War memorial in London (Park Lane).

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Michelle Young

There is also one in Couin, where the old water carts bottle fillers sign which older battlefields visitors will remember was 

 

Michelle 

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Pol

There is a memorial (2014) with the name "Agony" at the roundabout on the road from Ypres to Vlamertinge. It shows two horses (or mules) rear up to the sky in agony. It was 

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Michael Thomson

Thank you everybody for your replies- I was interested to see that there is indeed a specific memorial to the fallen animals of WW1 at Pozières... having Googled it after reading the comments I can only say that the sentiments behind erecting it are very noble even if the monument's physical form and layout isn't my cup of tea. 

 

It's good to know that on the Somme and in Flanders there are some acknowledgements to the memory of the animals that perished too.

 

 

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nigelcave

The one at Couin, in the rear area of the northernmost part of the  Somme battlefield, is far more tasteful (which, quite frankly, would not be difficult); several plaques on a wall with a restored - I assume - WWI painted sign on the wall above that directs water carts. I think it must have been up for about fifteen years, possibly a little less.

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Marilyne

Michael,

 

You talk about the Blue Cross... A way to show support for the animals lost in the war is the PURPLE POPPY... My sister wears it more than she does the red one and we even made a purple poppy cross for her on 11th November to put at the mascot's cemetery at Edinburgh Castle.

 

I do agree with Keith... don't go to Poziere !!

the best is till the one in Hyde Park, especially this one sentence just sais it all: "They had no choice!"

 

M.

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Michelle Young

There is also the carrier pigeon memorial at Fort Douaumont

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Hedley Malloch

... and a memorial to carrier pigeons (and to their keepers who were shot for keeping them) in Lille.

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Hedley Malloch

Horses and pigeons are well covered memory-wise. But sadly there are no memorials to the elephants conscripted onto the Western Front.

Elephants in felleries 8.jpg

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Aurel Sercu

The monument in Vlamertinge (roundabout road Ypres - Poperinge) to which Pol and Jan (AOK4 referred to yesterday.

 

Aurel

 

Vlamertinge Paarden (3).JPG

Edited by Aurel Sercu
Sorry, I forgot the photo !

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HERITAGE PLUS
Quote

 But sadly there are no memorials to the elephants conscripted onto the Western Front.

 

The service of elephants,  along with other animals, is remembered at the Scottish National War Memorial in Edinburgh Castle.

 

 

Scottish National War Memorial - Elephant.png

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Ron Clifton
5 hours ago, Michelle Young said:

There is also the carrier pigeon memorial at Fort Douaumont

Fort Vaux, I think, Michelle. Location of Major Raynal and his message "This is my last pigeon."

 

Ron

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Michelle Young

I knew I would get it wrong Ron! 

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DavidOwen

The purple poppy is actually a purple cornflower but often referred to as the former. Be careful as the originator's agenda has seriously morphed away from the original concept. A certain online auction site does have examples for sale which do support the original ideals and help wildlife charities into the bargain.

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seaJane
1 hour ago, Aurel Sercu said:

The monument in Vlamertinge (roundabout road Ypres - Poperinge) to which Pol and Jan (AOK4 referred to yesterday.

 

Aurel

 

Vlamertinge Paarden (3).JPG

That is beautiful, Aurel! May I send the picture to a friend?

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Aurel Sercu

seaJane,

Of course. Here's one more.

And if you want me to send the higher resolution original, let me know in a PM..

(This one approx. 1MB, the first one approx. 2 MB).

Aurel

Vlamertinge Paarden (1).JPG

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Michael Thomson

Thank you to everybody for your replies! That photo of the monument in Vlamertinge is beautiful. It conveys the motion of a rearing, panicking horse very accurately and fits with the title 'Agony' very convincingly. 

 

We will do our best to visit the memorial at Couin, so thank you for telling me about it. 

 

I was interested and surprised to see the Elephant in the photo. I gather he/she was a mascot? There is a fairly well known photograph of a Springbok (called Nelly or Nancy I believe?) with a South African soldier just before or after the fighting at Delville Wood and another of a Baboon...both were mascots if I'm not mistaken. It was definitely not the right place for any animal to be.

 

The line "they had no choice" is an extremely fitting way of describing the position of the many millions of animals who suffered in the Great War. Sadly the very same words describe the predicament of so many millions of young men in that same conflict too. 

 

The Purple Poppies are an interesting concept and I'd not heard of them before... I'll look into it. Hopefully that initiative did some good - even if it did diverge from its original purpose as was indicated above.

PS: the second photo of the horse memorial is very beautiful. A very modern design but so expressive.

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nigelcave
5 hours ago, HERITAGE PLUS said:

 

The service of elephants,  along with other animals, is remembered at the Scottish National War Memorial in Edinburgh Castle.

 

 

Scottish National War Memorial - Elephant.png

Quite: also featured on it are canaries, with reference to their use by tunnelling companies.

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seaJane

Thanks Aurel - I will send him the second one you posted. I'm very much obliged to you!

sJ

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