Public Remembrance Sunday service to honour animals in war

A service to remember the animals that have served in war will be held this Remembrance Sunday at the Animals in War Memorial in London.

A group will gather at the monument at 3pm on 10 November to recognise the role of animals in conflict.

“Special guests” this year will be a working dog and handler from the Metropolitan police.

Representatives of several animal charities have already been laying wreaths at the site during an Animals in War Remembrance Gathering held on Friday (8 November).

They included the RSPCA’s Dermott Murphy; Roly Owers, chief executive of World Horse Welfare (WHW) and two representatives for The Brooke Clare Twelvetrees, director of strategy and performance, and Capital FM DJ Aimee Vivian.

Friday’s event, organised and funded by Petplan Charitable Trust and Dogs Trust, has taken place annually since 2004 when the memorial was opened by HRH The Princess Royal.

“At this time of year, it’s so important that as well as remembering our soldiers, we pause and reflect on the bravery of the millions of working horses, donkeys and mules who served alongside them,” Aimee said.

“In the First World War alone, eight million horses lost their lives. As a lifelong animal lover, I was honoured to represent Brooke at the Animals in War Memorial and raise awareness of the millions of equines working around the world today who still need our help.”

Also in attendance on behalf of the Welsh Pony and Cob Society were Jacky Kirk and the organisation’s newly appointed secretary Meirion Davies.

Members of The Blue Cross, another animal charity founded, like The Brooke, on the back of conflict, will be joining in the main march down Whitehall on Sunday.

The Blue Cross was founded in 1897 as Or Dumb Friends’ League and played an active role on the battlefields in WWI an WWII, providing animal hospitals and ambulances.

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It also helped to repatriate war horses and dogs, and helped injured animals at home during the Blitz, as well as finding homes for those whose owners had been called up or needed to be evacuated.

This year, it has been selling purple poppies to commemorate animals who were lost in the wars.

Sunday’s service at the Animals in War Memorial, Park Lane, London, will be hosted by the Anglican Society for the Welfare of Animals (ASWA) and is open to members of the public.

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