“Without horses to drag artillery and dogs and pigeons to send messages, the Great War wouldn’t have been so great,” says Eric Baratay in his book, Beasts of the Trenches- The Experience Forgotten.
The Experience Forgotten
During the First World War, between 1914 and 1918, many animals could be found in the trenches as well. They ranged from camels to elephants to monkeys. Baratay says that these animals “allowed a link with their past lives and were their lucky charms.”
A Donkey Called Tiny
In Picardy, the English army had a donkey called Tiny, who was very popular. Tiny could drink nine cups of tea in a row! The French and German armies had less exotic pets; they had cats, dogs, birds and goats.
The animals were there for more serious work as well, many dogs were trained to find wounded men on the front line. Others were trained to transport messages and supplies to others.
In total, there were about 100,000 dogs and 200,000 pigeons used during this war. Sometimes, while carrying messages, they were equipped with cameras to spy on their enemies. There were more than a million horses used during the war, their jobs ranging from carrying people to weapons.