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War animals honoured at Glenelg memorial

Friday 20 May 2022

A new memorial to honour the service of animals in war times has been installed on the western side of the Glenelg Town Hall.

It features a photo taken in 1915, showing members of the 10th Battalion exercising their horses at Glenelg Beach.

The memorial was an initiative proposed by the late elected member, Councillor Mikki Bouchee.

A passion close to her heart, she helped to select the historical image used on the memorial, which is courtesy of the State Library of South Australia.

The public memorial aims to create a lasting reminder of the important, selfless and loyal contribution animals make during times of conflict for our nation.

Of the 136,000 Australian horses sent overseas during WWI, only one returned to Australia.

That horse was named Sandy and was a favourite of General Bridges, who died in May 1915 from a wound sustained at Gallipoli.

According to an article on the Australian War Memorial website, animals have played an important part in all wars in which Australians have been involved – serving as transport, messengers, protectors, mascots and pets.

The homing ability and navigational skills of carrier pigeons saw them used during both world wars and some were even awarded medals for gallantry.

Working dogs were used by the Royal Australian Engineers in 1918 and search dogs were used from 1944 after the raising of the First Australian Dog Platoon.

During WWI, many Australians brought animals from home to the training camps in Egypt. When the war ended, they were donated to the Cairo Zoo.

The deeds and sacrifices of animals in war are commemorated each year on 24 February, which is the National Day for War Animals.

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