Recklessly Abroad: Empathy for Animals

I took a group trip to London this past Saturday.  It was a walking tour around Westminster, which is quite a beautiful area full of old buildings and typical touristy sights (like Big Ben and Buckingham Palace).

Our tour leader, however, was not giving us a historical tour of the city.  I may have been the only one slightly disappointed, but I made the best of it.  It turned out to be an amazing, albeit tiring, day.

What caught my eye, however, was not anything particularly grand.  As the coach stopped to let some passengers off, I spotted some animal statues around a stone wall.  Squinting, I read

“Many and various animals were employed to support British and Allied Forces over the centuries and as a result millions died – from the pigeon to the elephant they all played a vital role in every region of the world in the cause of human freedom – their contribution must never be forgotten.”

Needless to say, I knew I would have to return to the Animals in War Memorial (and for those of you follow the Twitter @RcklssHistory, that is the mystery picture).

When I returned to the Memorial some hours later, I spent some time reflecting on what it stood for.  I remembered why it had caught my attention: When searching for a research topic last fall, I stumbled upon this little article on a carrier pigeon from the First World War.  That being said, I’ve had a desire to learn more about animals involved in wars since then.

I tried to take as many pictures as I could to capture the essence of the monument.  Instead of continuing to babble on, I will include several photographs for your viewing pleasure.


The main inscription. Taken from the grass next to the horse.



My personal favorite. The dog has what looks like a look of remorse, regretting having to leave the other animals behind at the Memorial.


The dog and horse from the front.


From behind the dog and horse. Pack animals serving by bearing materiel and supplies.


Bearing burdens with the various animals remembered on the facade behind them.


This angle seems to capture the struggle of animals pressing onwards.


The inscription on the right is almost haunting.


I strongly recommend visiting if you ever find yourself if London.  It’s a beautiful testament to animals in war.

More information can be found here:



Posted in Recklessly Abroad
One comment on “Recklessly Abroad: Empathy for Animals
  1. […] Recklessly Abroad: Empathy for Animals ( […]

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