14 Colorized Photos Of Animals That Served In WW1 And WW2
#1 A First World War Soldier And His Pet
An unnamed British Royal Artillery soldier with his kitten, 1917. Animals were often brought into the trenches, sometimes as a mascot for the regiment, or in this case, the kitten may likely be from a local farm or destroyed village.
#2 Simon, The Ship Cat Simon was a ship cat who served on the Royal Navy sloop-of-war HMS Amethyst. He was adept at catching and killing rats on the lower decks. Simon rapidly gained a reputation for cheekiness, leaving presents of dead rats in sailors' beds, and sleeping in the captain's cap.
In 1949, during the Yangtze Incident, he received the PDSA's Dickin Medal after surviving injuries from a cannon shell that tore through the captain’s cabin seriously wounding Simon and killing the captain.
The badly wounded cat crawled onto the deck and was rushed to the medical bay, where the ship's surviving medical staff cleaned his burns and removed four pieces of shrapnel, but he was not expected to last the night.
He managed to survive, however, and after a period of recovery, returned to his former duties catching rats. He is still the only cat to have been awarded the Dickin Medal as of 2021.
#3 Rip The Hero Dog Rip was a mixed breed terrier awarded the Dickin Medal for bravery in 1945. He was found as a stray in Poplar, London, in 1940 by an Air Raid Warden Mr. E King, and became the service's first search and rescue dog. He is credited with saving the lives of over 100 people.
Rip was not trained for search and rescue work but took to it instinctively and his success has been held partially responsible for prompting the authorities to train search and rescue dogs towards the end of World War II.
#4 Ship Kittens The ship cat has been a common feature on many trading, exploration, and naval ships dating to ancient times. They were used to attack and kill rodents which would cause damage to ropes, woodwork, food, and stores, and would spread disease.
These two kittens lived aboard HMS Hawkins, a heavy cruiser built by the Royal Navy during the First World War, though not completed until 1919. The kittens are pictured inside the barrel of a 7.5-inch gun.
The Royal Navy banned cats and other pet animals from all ships on the ocean in 1975 on hygiene grounds, however, cats are still common on many private ships.
#7 Jasper A sergeant of the Royal Army Veterinary Corps bandages the wounded ear of Jasper, a mine-detecting dog at Bayeux in Normandy, 5th of July, 1944.
#8 Messenger Pigeons A B-type bus converted into a pigeon loft enabling messages to be sent from the front line back to headquarters. Over 100,000 carrier pigeons were used as messengers throughout WW1 and records show they delivered 95% of their messages correctly.
#9 Mud And Bullets A horse and soldier transporting boots. The path is inches deep in wet mud discernible by the deep imprint around the soldier's boot and the fact that the horse's hooves are no longer visible. Rather than cloth puttees though he is wearing long lace-up boots.
The horse is absolutely laden with rubber trench waders. Horses, due to their reliability and ability to travel over most terrains were crucial to transportation during World War I.
#11 War Horse This picture postcard was sent by William Field (1890-1917) to his brother Harry, postmark dated December 1909, from Aldershot barracks in Hampshire. William is stood third from the left with bridals in his arms.
The original postcard is still owned by Harry's daughter Margaret, who is 90 years old, and I was commissioned to colorize the photo by descendants of the family, Liz and her husband Andy. Thank you to Andy for permission to include the photo here.
William served with the 7th Queens Own Hussars at West Cavalry Barracks, Wellington Lines, but he died in action serving for the Kings Own Hussars in WW1. He laid to rest at Monchy British Cemetery, Monchy-Le-Preux, Pas de Calais, France.
#13 North Irish Horse Regiment An unknown British Tommy from the 'A' Squadron, the North Irish Horse Regiment.
The most incredible play I’ve ever seen was ‘War Horse’ by Michael Morpurgo and Nick Stafford. It highlights the brutal torture horses went through in the First World War.
It is estimated that eight million horses, mules, and donkeys died during the war.