The RSPCA has paid its respects to the animals and soldiers who lost their lives in war.
To mark the centenary of World War I, the charity was among others including Brooke and PDSA to attend the Animals in War memorial ceremony in London today (9 November).
RSPCA deputy chief executive Chris Wainwright, inspectorate staff officer Simon Osborne and operational superintendent Paul Stilgoe laid a poppy wreath at the memorial to commemorate the bravery of all the animals involved in war.
The charity was 90 years old in 1914, when it had one clinic and animal home in Islington. With financial support from the war office, the charity built four hospitals to help animals during the war. RSPCA staff also enlisted in the Army Veterinary Corps and raised £250,000 for veterinary supplies to help ease the suffering of horses on the frontline.
The money supplied 13 veterinary hospitals with an operating theatre, forage barns, dressing sheds, 180 horse-drawn ambulances and 16 motorised ambulances. Between 1914 and 1918 two and a half million animals passed through the hospitals.
Mr Wainwright said: “This was a heartfelt and touching ceremony to commemorate all the animals and soldiers who lost their lives in war.
“It’s a time to reflect on the human and animal pain, distress and losses caused through human conflict and commemorate those people who defended and protected animals, and the animals themselves who served not just in the two world wars, but also wars across the world today.”
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Mr Osborne said: “To mark 100 years since the First World War, it’s incredibly important to honour the valiant efforts of RSPCA staff and all animals who were lost during the war efforts.
“During the First World War, the RSPCA worked tirelessly to help the sick and wounded horses from the frontline. We also lost 18 RSPCA officers in the first and five in the second world war, and there were many more who survived, labouring through these and subsequent wars to protect horses, mules and other animals under fire.”
The charity will also attend the National Service of Remembrance held at The Cenotaph in Whitehall on Remembrance Sunday.
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