The Forgotten heroes of WWII.

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Today is World Animal Day and what better day to pick to remember some of the forgotten Heroes of WWII. The animals that often played a very important role.

Pfc. Rez P. Hester of the Marine Corps Seventh War Dog Platoon on Iwo Jima takes a nap while Butch stands guard. February 1945.(courtesy National Archives)

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Cpl. William Wende brushes GI Jenny, the burro mascot of an Army unit in North Africa. The interested terrier is named Pito. Ca. 1943.(Courtesy National Archives)

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Antis was a dog who received the Dickin Medal in 1949 from the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals for bravery in service in England and North Africa during WWII.

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Lin Wang was an Asian elephant who served with the Chinese Expeditionary Force during the Second Sino-Japanese War :1937–1945.

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Chinese cavalry during WWII.

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William of Orange was a male war pigeon of British military intelligence service MI14. He was awarded the 21st Dickin Medal for delivering a message from the Arnhem Airborne Operation. This message saved more than 2000 soldiers at the time of the Battle of Arnhem in September 1944. Its official name in military record is NPS.42.NS.15125. He received the Dickin Medal in May 1945.

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Sources

National Archives

Daily MaiL

Archives MOD.

 

The forgotten WWII massacre

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Although this blog is about a massacre which killed 750,000 victims within a week, not everyone reading this will be shocked about it.

At the beginning of World War II, a government pamphlet led to a massive cull of British pets. As many as 750,000 British pets were killed in just one week.

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In 1939 the British government formed the National Air Raid Precautions Animals Committee (NARPAC) to decide what to do with pets before war breaks out. The committee was worried that when the government needed to ration food, pet owners would decide to split their rations with their pets or leave their pets to starve. In response to that fear, NARPAC published a pamphlet titled “Advice to Animal Owners.” The pamphlet suggested moving pets from the big cities and into the countryside. It concluded with the statement that “If you cannot place them in the care of neighbours, it really is kindest to have them destroyed.” The pamphlet also contained an advertisement for a pistol that could be used to humanely kill pets.

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The advice was printed in almost every newspaper and announced on the BBC.After war was declared on 3 September 1939, pet owners thronged to vets’ surgeries and animal homes._70434803_wj_historical_107

Animal charities, the PDSA, the RSPCA and vets were all opposed to the killing of pets and very concerned about people just dumping animals on their doorsteps at the start of the war.

 

Battersea actually advised against taking such drastic measures and the then manager Edward Healey-Tutt wrote to people asking them not to be too hasty.

In the first few days of war, PDSA hospitals and dispensaries were overwhelmed by owners bringing their pets for destruction. It was estimated that 750,000 pets were killed.

Many pet owners, after getting over the fear of bombings and lack of food, regretted killing their pets and blamed the government for starting the hysteria.

When World War II began, the United Kingdom imported two-thirds of its food, all of which had to be shipped over oceans teeming with German U-boats. The Ministry of Food did not want to risk the lives of sailors for food that would be wasted, and reducing imports also saved money for armaments. Surprisingly, 60 per cent of Britons told government pollsters that they wanted rationing to be introduced, with many believing that it would guarantee everyone a fair share of food.

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I plead “oink oink”: when pigs and other animals were put on trial.

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In the Middle Ages, animals who committed crimes were subject to the same legal proceedings as humans.

Famously, in 1457, seven pigs in Savigny, France were tried for the murder of a five-year-old boy. The proceedings were complete with a defense attorney for the pigs and a judge, who ultimately ruled that because people witnessed one of the seven pigs attack the boy, only that one would sentenced to death by hanging, and the rest would go free.

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Animals, including insects, faced the possibility of criminal charges for several centuries across many parts of Europe. The earliest extant record of an animal trial is the execution of a pig in 1266 at Fontenay-aux-Roses.

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Such trials remained part of several legal systems until the 18th century. Animal defendants appeared before both church and secular courts, and the offences alleged against them ranged from murder to criminal damage. Human witnesses were often heard and in Ecclesiastical courts they were routinely provided with lawyers (this was not the case in secular courts, but for most of the period concerned, neither were human defendants). If convicted, it was usual for an animal to be executed, or exiled. However, in 1750, a female donkey was acquitted of charges of bestiality due to witnesses to the animal’s virtue and good behaviour while her human co-accused were sentenced to death.

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Animals put on trial were almost invariably either domesticated ones (most often pigs, but also bulls, horses, and cows) or pests such as rats and weevils. Creatures that were suspected of being familiar spirits or complicit in acts of bestiality were also subjected to judicial punishment, such as burning at the stake, though few, if any, ever faced trial

According to Johannis Gross in Kurze Basler Chronik (1624), in 1474 a rooster was put on trial  in Basel ,Switzerland for “the heinous and unnatural crime of laying an egg,” which the townspeople were concerned was spawned by Satan and contained a cockatrice.

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Scholars and historians who study the middle ages have cited numerous possible explanations for why such proceedings took place. The greater mentality of medieval societies was characterized by strong superstitions and a rigid hierarchy of humanity rooted in faith a divine God. Some academics hypothesized that, because of the importance of this belief system, any event that represented a departure in the hierarchy of nature, where a God had placed humans at the top, needed to be formally addressed in order to restore proper order. Another possible explanation for the trials was that because they were so public and conspicuous, they were able to serve as warnings directed at owners whose animals were causing mischief in communities.

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The animals of WWII

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Like most other war WWII was not only fought by humans, animals also took part in the war. It was in a variety of roles how animals partook in the war efforts,sometimes for transport ,like the picture above of a soldier with a pack Reindeer, on slippery ice, near the tiny village of Nautsi, in northern Lapland, Finland, on October 26, 1941.

Other times as mascottes or just as pets, and occasionally as combatants and even served as food. Just like their human counterparts they also became victims.

Below are some examples of the animal of WWII.

Army Pfc. Raymond Gasiorowski takes Leipzig, his company s pet puppy, for a walk in Leipzig, Germany. April 19, 1945

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Marine Cpl. Edward Burckhardt found this kitten at the base of Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima, the scene of some of the most brutal fighting of the war. February 1945.

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Russia, 1941. German soldier and his horse. In two months, December 1941 and January 1942, the German Army on the Eastern Front lost 179,000 horses.

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Cpl. William Wende brushes GI Jenny, the burro mascot of an Army unit in North Africa. The interested terrier is named Pito. Ca. 1943.

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Two women collect the remains of a dead horse for food, Siege of Leningrad, 1941

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Poland, 1939. German horsemen cross the Polish border.

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G.I Joe is one of the most famous pigeons in history, most noted for saving a thousand American and Allied soldiers during WWII.

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The reindeer of Murmansk

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Dogs of War-Man’s best friend on duty in WWII

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Dogs are often called “Man’s best friend” which is probably more true from a Dog’s point of view then from the point of view of it’s owner.

Dogs are known to have remained loyal to their owner even after the owner has died, Regardless how you treat your dog , generally they will love you unconditionally. Even during the horrors of WWII,dogs were companions to high ranking officers and other military staff alike,and at times they would by great aides during combat. The above picture is of of Willie, Patton’s dog, taken a few days after the General’s death as preparations were made to send home his effects.

Below are some more examples of “Man’s best friend” during WWII

Willie following Patton as he enters his Headquarters at Luxembourg.

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A dog being posed by a German soldier, early 1940′s

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Below photo shows Corporal Yukio Araki (age 17 years old) holding a puppy with four other young men (age 18 and 19 years old) of the 72nd Shinbu Corps. An Asahi Shimbun cameraman took this photo on the day before the departure of the 72nd Shinbu Corps from Bansei Air Base for their kamikaze mission in Okinawa.

Kamikaze pilots posing with a puppy on the day before their suicide missions, 1945

A Yorkshire Terrier who saw action in the Pacific during World War II, Smoky was initially found in February 1944, abandoned in a foxhole in the jungles of New Guinea. The dog was included in a dozen combat missions and survived more than 150 air raids. One of Smoky’s most famous exploits was at a crucial airstrip in the Philippine Island of Luzon. The dog pulled a telegraph wire through a narrow 70-foot pipe, saving construction time and keeping workers and engineers safe from enemy fire. When not in harm’s way, Smoky entertained troops with a variety of tricks and self-taught antics. The dog died on February 21, 1957; she was 14 years old. Smoky’s exploits are chronicled in detail in the book Yorkie Doodle Dandy, written by her adoptive owner William A. Wynne.
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Chips was a Collie–German Shepherd–Siberian Husky mix who was the most decorated dog in World War II. The pooch saw action in Germany, France, North Africa, and Sicily. Among the animal’s heroic exploits are his assault on an Italian machine-gun nest and helping take 10 enemy Italian soldiers captive. Chips was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, Purple Heart, and Silver Star for his actions; unfortunately, the commendations were revoked as military policy at the time didn’t allow such recognition for animals. The dog returned to his home in Pleasantville, N.Y., in 1945.
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Marine Raiders take scouting and messenger dogs to the frontlines on Bougainville, late 1943.

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A March 1945 photo of members of a U.S. Marine Corps war dog platoon moving up to the front lines in Iwo Jima, Japan, during World War II.

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Rip was a stray mongrel that was adopted by air raid wardens after his home was bombed. He went on to rescue more than 100 people.

Rip

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I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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