Animals in War

More than 16 million animals served in the First World War; including horses, pigeons, donkeys, elephants, dogs, tortoises, monkeys, camels…and even glowworms. Here are some of Richmond’s WW1 animals:

Q557 IWM Public Domain Veterinary Hospital Etaples 1916

A horse receives treatment at a Veterinary in Etaples, 1916. (C) IWM Q557

Nancy the Springbok was the mascot for the South African Regiment. She was presented to the 4th South African Infantry Regiment in August 1915 and travelled with them through Egypt, France and Flanders. She died in 1918 and was buried with full military honours.

A baboon called Jackie became an official mascot of the 3rd South African Infantry Regiment. Jackie was a Chacma baboon, and was found by Albert Marr on his farm. When Marr joined the infantry he asked to bring Jackie along with him. The baboon was given a special uniform complete with cap, regimental badges, and his own rations! For three years Jackie accompanied soldiers on the Front Line in the trenches. He would even stand to attention, salute, and use a knife and fork.

Discover the animals who have been awarded the Dickin Medal , the highest award for animal bravery, in The Animal Victoria Cross by Peter Hawthorne (published by Pen & Sword Books).

SA Rear Action

‘The Springboks Attack in the Rear!’ Image Courtesy of Richmond upon Thames Local Studies Library & Archive

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