The armed forces have used animals in their armed conflicts since ancient times. Horses and dogs come to mind first. Horses were exploited in all wars, up to the middle of the 20th century. During World War II, the Soviet cavalry almost attacked the tanks of the Reich’s armed forces.
The post comes to us nightly, we hail the post with glee –
For now we’re not as many as once we used to be:
For some have done their fighting, packed up and gone away,
And many lads are sleeping – no sound will break their sleeping;
Brave lusty comrades sleeping in their little homes of clay. ~ Irish poet Patrick MacGill.
I make no apologies for spurning the pomp and pageantry that bull-horns its way through Remembrance Sunday held at thousands of cenotaphs. There is much about war that knows no political or national boundaries. War is a monument to human frailty and duplicity, profiteering, individual acts of heroism and stupidity, but not strength.
On November 7th, 1920, in strictest secrecy, four unidentified British bodies were exhumed from temporary battlefield cemeteries at Ypres, Arras, the Asine and the Somme. None of the soldiers who did the digging was told why.