The Diggers' Menagerie: Mates, Mascots and Marvels - True Stories of Animals Who Went to War
The fascinating stories of Australian and New Zealand soldiers and the animals that have accompanied them, from the Boer War through to the conflict in Afghanistan. From the Boer War to the conflict in Vietnam, from the Somme to Afghanistan, from beasts of burden and bomb detectors to providers of companionship and light relief for the men and women in war, animals have played a vital role in Australian military campaigns. Dogs, cats, pigeons, camels and horses among others, all took part. Here Barry Stone documents, through letters, journals, photographs and first-hand accounts, the stories of the myriad creatures who went off to various wars with Australian soldiers - adding a poignant layer to our military history. Highlighting individual stories, he follows not just their wartime adventures, but in some cases what happened to animals after the wars had ended, who survived and how.
Paris. Considered to be Australia’s finest equine artist, Power was living in London in 1917 when he was appointed an official war artist by the Australian High Commission. Attached to the 1st Division AIF and given the honorary rank of lieutenant, Power spent three months in the front line in France and returned there again in 1918. He possessed the unique ability to merge animal and human figures into the landscape. This, when combined with his knowledge of equine anatomy, resulted in
aboard a Japanese transport, the Rakuyo Maru, in 1944 for life as a slave labourer in Japan. After six days at sea, however, the Rakuyo Maru was attacked by US submarines and sunk. Collins and four others were rescued four days later by the US submarine Queenfish and taken to an American naval base on the island of Saipan, where, after a few days of rest and recuperation, the first account of the loss of HMAS Perth and USS Houston could at last be told. Of the Perth’s complement of 687, which
by species – horses, donkeys, mules, oxen, pigeons – the world’s animals have been increasingly spared participation in our wars. All of them, that is, except one. With the exponential growth in sophisticated explosive devices and the need to locate enemies in impenetrable jungle conditions, a heightened sense of smell is a considerable military advantage. We still need dogs – and their noses. Despite the wholesale dismantling of war dog programs at the end of the Second World War, the ability
in conflicts as far back as the Vietnam War. Sarbi might be the most well-known Australian dog ever to serve in Afghanistan, but she was by no means the first. Australian troops began serving in Afghanistan under Operation SLIPPER with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in 2002, invited there by the Afghan government to help bring peace and stability to the war-torn nation according to the auspices set out in UN Security Council Resolution 1833. The first Australian
soldier was killed in the ambush, and an Australian who was taken prisoner died the following day of his wounds. A graphic account of the ambush and of the Boer tactic of first shooting the horse from under a rider to make him more vulnerable was written by Trooper Vernon of the 1st Australian Horse: Bert Arlett’s horse was shot; he jumped up behind Lieutenant Dowling, but that horse was shot also. The fall stunned him, and when he regained consciousness, he took off his boots and sneaked