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From the Archive: From War Horse to Winnie the Pooh – The Animals of the First World War

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Authored by Laura Wales
Published on 16th November, 2023 33 min read

From the Archive: From War Horse to Winnie the Pooh – The Animals of the First World War

“All quiet on the Western Front” apart from the neighing of horses, barking of dogs, miaowing of cats, chirruping of grasshoppers, hissing of geese, chattering of monkeys and even growling of bears.[1]

The Illustrated War News (IWN) was an offshoot of The Illustrated London News (ILN). The IWN published between 1914 and 1918, and re-appeared briefly throughout November 1939. Its coverage related exclusively to military matters, which the paper portrayed via a combination of full-page photographs and illustrations. British Online Archives’ (BOA) collection, Illustrated War News, 1914–1918 & 1939, comprises nearly 8,600 images from this title. Whilst it constitutes the smallest collection in BOA’s British Illustrated Periodicals, 1869–1970, the material is particularly important: the IWN sheds much light on two of the most significant phases of twentieth century history. 

The First World War was one of the deadliest conflicts in human history. The conflict inflicted cataclysmic suffering across military and civilian populations. Robert Jeffcoate has argued that the war “left a legacy of political, economic and social consequences whose reverberations continue to impinge on us”.[2] Less frequently considered, however, is the plight of the animals that served. Animals have been used in warfare for as long as humans have been able to ride horses into battle or train dogs to attack. The First World War was no exception: over 16 million animals served in various capacities.[3] Horses were an obvious choice. It did not stop there, however. The Allied and Central Powers employed a veritable “Noah’s Ark” of animals for war work.[4] These ranged from dogs, cats, and birds to camels, whales, elephants, and bears. Yet there was one crucial difference between the animals and the men at the front: the animals had no choice but to serve.

While the animals engaged in war work may have recognised danger, they could not comprehend the concept of war in the way humans do. Instead, they were “specially trained to perform many special functions” without a full understanding of the cause they were assisting.[5] Whether their behaviour was an example of reciprocal altruism, or a genuine exhibition of loyalty to soldiers, these animals continuously put themselves at risk in order to help the men who had brought them to war.[6] 

“They had no choice.”[7]

This article utilises archival material drawn from the 1914–1918 run of the IWN. It will examine the role of animals in conflict, transport, companionship, and communications during the war. The article also seeks to highlight individual stories of animals who assisted in the war effort as means of  commemorating these forgotten heroes of the First World War. Drawing from material hosted by BOA, the article considers the legacies of these stories, particularly in reference to the literature they have inspired.

Conflict: War horses and Mercy Dogs

“Into the valley of death, Rode the six hundred” – Alfred Lord Tennyson [8]

The iconic line of Tennyson’s The Charge of the Light Brigade (1854) conjures the image of a battalion on horseback, approaching the enemy to face almost certain death. Written during the Crimean War, 60 years before the First World War began, Tennyson represents the use of cavalry, a method of warfare hitherto used substantially. This, of course, required the use of horses to wage battle. Cavalry was used in the First World War, but its role was limited to the start of the conflict.

There was one cavalry horse whose story remains prominent in our cultural memory, although his name is lesser-known. Warrior was the horse of Captain Jack Seely, a British Army general and politician. Warrior and Seely led the Canadian Cavalry Brigade in the last major cavalry charge of the war at Moreuil Wood in March 1918. Warrior “somehow survived while hundreds of thousands of his human and equine comrades had fallen around him”.[9] He was known as “the horse the Germans could not kill” as he had also survived falling shells and getting stuck in the mud at the Battle of the Somme and at Passchendaele.[10] On two occasions he was trapped in a burning stable and managed to escape. He was awarded the Dicken Medal, the animal Victoria Cross, posthumously for his service. His story of survival against the odds inspired Michael Morpurgo’s War Horse (1982) which has been adapted for film and stage. The novel is narrated from the perspective of Joey, a horse modelled on Warrior, who endures battle, injury, and separation from his owner. Helen McCartney has observed that it is “intended to be a tale of universal suffering”, as Morpurgo portrays the horses  innocence and confusion about war. War Horse memorialises the story of Warrior. Yet it also commemorates the forgotten plight of millions of horses throughout the war.[11]  

“We had won, I heard it said; but horses lay dead and dying everywhere” [12]

War Horse on stage.

The continued use of the cavalry charge at the start of the First World War resulted in the loss of many troops and horses in futile attacks against machine guns, as industrialisation saw the introduction of new weapons and field artillery.[13] Horses were vulnerable to these modern weapons. The shift to trench warfare also meant that the use of cavalry-based battles was quickly phased out. Although the role of the horse in war had changed, they still proved instrumental on the front line. Horses were better at travelling through the deep, uneven mud of the trenches than mechanised vehicles. They were likewise quicker than men on foot. Horses were therefore enlisted to carry messages through trench networks, to undertake reconnaissance missions, and to pull supply and artillery wagons. They were able to adapt to a multitude of conditions, exemplified in the image below. Taken from the IWN, it depicts a pair of horses swimming across the Suez Canal, “accustoming them to something they may have to do when fighting is “on”.”[14] Their versatility, agility, and ability to traverse difficult terrain made them the ideal aide for soldiers on the front line.

The Illustrated War News, 6 September 1916. Horses did suffer. Despite the protection that the shift away from cavalry warfare granted them, they were still vulnerable to the disease and injury that pervaded the front line. Exhaustion and strain from carrying heavy loads was common. “The sufferings of horses in war excite[d] universal sympathy”, especially as by 1914 the Army Veterinary Corps had already “dealt with some 27,000 horses”.[15] Horses suffered injuries from shrapnel, gunfire, and falling debris. All of this left them with wounds that could become infected due to the poor sanitation and limited veterinary care. They were operated on “under chloroform, for the removal of shell-splinters” which could lead to further complications.[16] Inevitably, many of these animals died from their injuries. British soldiers showed their “affection” for the horses by erecting gravestones for the deceased animals.[17] The image below (again from the IWN) shows “a memorial set up by a driver at the place where two, killed by a shell, lie buried. The simple inscription reads: ‘2 Dead Horses Buried Here. Dick and Dingy.’”[18] An estimated 484,143 British horses died between 1914 and 1918.[19]

The Illustrated War News, 4 October 1916. Dogs also played key roles on the front line. They were trained as ambulance or “mercy dogs” who were sent out on to no man’s land to locate wounded soldiers. “Owners of valuable dogs offered them to the State” for this purpose, meaning many domestic pets were given over to the war effort.[20] Their heightened sense of smell and hearing allowed them to find men who needed medical assistance.[21] Each dog would be equipped with a first aid kit which the soldier could use to treat an injury enough to return to their trench. If the soldier was unable to treat his own injury, the dogs were “trained to carry back something belonging to the wounded soldier, as his képi, and guide the ambulance-men to the spot”.[22] In 1917 The Evening Star reported that one “dog is said to have saved, in one night alone, over a hundred wounded soldiers”.[23]  In cases where an injury was too severe and the man was already dying, mercy dogs would lie close to him to keep him warm until help was available, or they would sit by a soldier and keep him company until he passed. Sometimes the dogs would get injured and require medical assistance themselves. This image from the IWN shows a “wounded French Ambulance Dog being bandaged”.[24]

The Illustrated War News, 29 December 1915.

The Illustrated War News, 16 January 1918. Dogs were not just used in a paramedical capacity during the First World War. Their heightened senses meant that many dogs were used to detect gas in the trenches and thus to warn soldiers of imminent attacks. Sergeant Stubby began as the mascot for the USA’s 102nd Infantry Regiment. After he was injured by mustard gas, he helped to detect further attacks. As a result of his injury, his lungs became acutely sensitive to gas, so he would warn the soldiers before they were exposed to dangerous levels. He was promoted to the rank of sergeant and became the most decorated war dog in history for his service.[25] He has been made the subject of several children’s books, designed to teach them about the war. Mice and canaries also continued to be used to detect gas as they had traditionally been used down mines for this purpose.[26] As Paul Bartsch had observed, soldiers even begun to use slugs as they become "visibly distressed" by gas. Slugs could detect one particle of gas per 10–12,000,000 particles, thereby giving the soldiers an early warning to put on their gas masks.[27]

The Illustrated War News, 29 March 1916.Companionship: The animal mascots of the First World War

“There is scarcely a regiment which has not got its “mascot”.[28]

Several images from the IWN depict the pets or “mascots” that accompanied the soldiers at the front. Having mascots in the trenches helped to maintain morale, especially in the face of the atrocities that soldiers would witness daily. “It is therefore hardly surprising that soldiers have sought their companionship in war”, Nigel Allsopp suggests.[29] In 1918 the IWN published a photograph of “one of our brave fellows playing with a kitten in the snow, as placidly as though wars and rumours of wars were things very far away, and not to be allowed to interfere with the friendly colloquies between the mascot and her master”.[30] This article illustrates how animals provided the soldiers with a form of escape from the war — interacting with animals gave them a moment of peace and innocence amid the trenches.

The Illustrated War News, 2 January 1918.Some mascots came to fulfil practical roles such as carrying messages, attending the wounded, or detecting the enemy. While mascots often took “the friendly form of a cat or dog”, some of the animal companions were a little more unusual.[31] Pigs, foxes, goats, eagles, bears, and even baboons were brought to the front line as mascots.

The Illustrated War News, 27 September 1916.Jackie the baboon was the mascot for the 3rd South African Infantry Regiment. A few years prior to the war, Albert Marr found Jackie on his family farm in Villeria, South Africa, and began training him. When war broke out Marr was drafted for military service. Distraught at leaving Jackie behind, Marr appealed to his superiors and gained permission to bring him along. Not only was he made the mascot of the regiment, but he also officially enlisted, gaining the rank of private. He was given a specially tailored uniform along with his own rations and pay book. Though initially ignored, his intelligence and behaviour soon drew attention to him. Indeed, he learnt to march with the men, which entertained them greatly. He would salute his superior officers, light cigarettes for the men, respond to the command to stand at ease like a trained soldier, and use a knife and fork to eat his meals. It was soon observed that his heightened senses made him the ideal assistant to the sentries on night duty as he could hear the movements of the enemy before his fellow soldiers could.

Marr was shot during the Senussi Campaign. Whilst awaiting medical assistance, Jackie licked the wound, becoming more than just a mascot in the eyes of the soldiers in that moment. Marr recovered and the pair served for a further two years until Jackie was wounded during the Battle of Passchendaele. Jackie was in the process of building a protective wall around himself during heavy enemy fire when a piece of shrapnel hit his leg. Lt-Col R. N. Woodsend of the Royal Medical Corps who was the attending doctor described how “the little fellow, carried by his keeper, lay moaning in pain […] The baboon was badly wounded, the left leg hanging with shreds of muscle, another jagged wound in the right arm”.[32] His leg was amputated under chloroform which the doctors were uncertain he would survive. Fortunately, he did, and he was decorated for his valour. Both Jackie and Marr were discharged and returned to the family farm to recover from shell shock. Jackie was left in such a fragile state that he died from a heart attack, triggered by a thunderclap during a heavy storm. He is the only baboon to have achieved the rank of private in the South African infantry.[33]

Jackie the baboon.Another bizarre animal companion belonged to Lieutenant Harry Colebourn of the Canadian Royal Army Veterinary Corps. Neil Storey explained that he brought with him “his female black bear cub, which would become the inspiration for Winnie the Pooh”.[34] Colebourn was due to embark for overseas duty from CFB Valcartier. On his journey to the military training camp he encountered a hunter who was selling a black bear cub after killing it’s mother. Colebourn bought the cub for $20, naming her “Winnie” after “Winnipeg”, where he had moved to following the completion of his veterinary training. Winnie was incredibly tame, having been socialised mostly by humans. Colebourn took Winnie with him to England where she became the unofficial mascot of the cavalry regiment Fort Garry Horse, which Colebourn attended as a vet.

Harry Colebourn with Winnie, 1914.When he was sent to France in 1915 he gave Winnie to London Zoo to take care of. Winnie was so well behaved in the zoo that children were allowed to ride on and play with her.[35] One child who was particularly taken with her when they met was Christopher Robin Milne, the son of A. A. Milne. Christoher Robin renamed his teddy “Winnie” after their encounter. It served as the inspiration for A. A. Milne to write Winnie the Pooh (1926). Though the Winnie of Milne’s stories is quite different to Colebourn’s black bear cub, Winnie the Pooh’s origin story preserves the memory of one of the mascots of the First World War. 

Christopher Robin Milne with Winnie the bear.Communication: Carrier Pigeons and Messenger Dogs

Pigeons are often considered pests due to their widespread presence in urban areas and tendency to carry disease. Yet Audrey Davenport has quite rightly pointed out that “pigeons had a past life as war heroes” as they were vital for carrying messages.[36] Their physical characteristics and homing capability made them excellent vehicles for wartime communication. 440,000 to 500,000 birds were employed for war duty between the years of 1914 and 1918. Thousands of birds died while carrying out their duties. Even more were killed under suspicion. The role of pigeons as information carriers made them targets for the enemy, so birds were continuously killed to interrupt the relay of messages. The Germans commandeered “hawks which were trained to kill pigeons” so that the scrolls of information they were carrying would not reach their destinations.[37]

The Illustrated War News, 14 March 1917.The messages that they carried took “the form of small scraps of paper covered with writing, or with printing reduced by photography to the minute characters, which, on arrival at the bird’s destination, were thrown on a screen by a magic-lantern, and by that means enlarged to an easily legible size”.[38] An illustration of this can be seen in figure 4. This image is lifted from an edition of the IWN published in 1917. The paper containing the message was “usually rolled up and passed through a metal ring worn on the bird’s leg” or “inserted in a quill” in the absence of a metal ring.[39] The photograph below shows two soldiers affixing a message to a pigeon using these methods.

Two soldiers fastening a message to a pigeon, 1917. “These birds have saved many a life”.[40]

Cher Ami, “Dear Friend” in French, was the name of a homing pigeon famous for delivering a message written on onion paper that was sent by an encircled battalion. This message, and the pigeon that delivered it, helped to save the lives of 194 soldiers. Cher Ami was despatched by Major Charles White Whittlesey, who had already made two attempts at sending pigeons to communicate that he and his men were trapped without supplies. The men were receiving friendly fire and could not escape. Both of Whittlesey’s prior attempts had been unsuccessful, as the birds were shot down. Cher Ami was also shot but persevered to deliver the message despite being blinded in one eye and his leg hanging by a tendon. The message arrived in just 25 minutes and the 77th Infantry Division were saved. Cher Ami posthumously became one of the first recipients of the Animals in War & Peace Medal of Bravery, and his taxidermied body is on display alongside Sergeant Stubby’s.[41]

Sergeant Stubby and Cher Ami on display.

While pigeons were the messengers of the sky, dogs were the messengers of the trenches. Messages would be concealed in a dog’s collar, and their keen sense of smell assisted them in finding the recipient among trench networks. Dogs were able to “slip through unobserved where a man could not hope to do so”, meaning that they could inconspicuously carry communications and scope out areas of danger to report back to his commander.[42] The dog photographed below performed this service, he “ is to be seen passing to and fro at all hours with despatches… the dog is not to be taken notice of, not to be called to, or petted, or in any way interfered with”.[43] His role was very different to that of the dogs employed as mascots, as he remained detached from the soldiers and loyal only to his despatchers. 

The Illustrated War News, 20 February 1918.

 Transport: Circus Elephants and Camels

Historically, horses have been used to draw carts to transport people or goods. With so many of the horses that were used in industry requisitioned by the military, T. W. Ward & Co who manufactured steel and machinery in Sheffield, needed to find an alternative. The solution came in the form of Lizzie the elephant.[44] Lizzie was part of Sedgwick's Travelling Menagerie for which she performed tricks. When war broke out she was conscripted for “helping in hauling heavy loads”.[45] She could do the work of “five horses, drawing eight tonnes easily” which solved the firm’s horse shortage.[46] She became a familiar sight hauling cargo around Sheffield, redolent of the “Elephints a-pilin' teak” in Kipling’s Mandalay (1890).[47] Lizzie was given special leather boots to protect her feet from the scrap metal in the steelyard. Yet the cobbled streets of Sheffield damaged her feet which meant that she was unable to continue after the war. She became known as “Tommy Ward’s Elephant”, giving rise to the expression commonly used in Sheffield: "done up like Tommy Ward's elephant".[48] This expression is used when someone is carrying something too heavy. Similar to the horses that were used for transport on the front line, Lizzy undoubtedly suffered as a result of the strain of heavy loads.

The Illustrated War News, 9 February 1916. 

The Allies also faced “the problem of transport” during campaigns in the Middle East.[49] The desert environment presented new challenges for which war horses were ill equipped. Thus, camels were  employed as cavalry and transport animals in the conflict against the Ottoman Empire, as they were better suited to the climate and conditions.[50] Their wide feet, long eyelashes, and hump for storing fat which can be converted into water and energy, meant that they could sustain the harshest environments for long periods of time. A camel was

worth its weight in gold, for a beast that will hump a regulation load of 300 lb. with ease, which has enormous staying powers, which only asks for a drink about every eight days, and finds all sorts of luxuries in the forage line in the desert scrub, gives a solution of transport difficulties.[51]

Camels were used to transport supplies, equipment, and troops. They were described as the “hospital ship of the desert” as they were affixed with structures that sick or wounded troops could use as hospital beds in transit.[52]

The Illustrated War News, 1 November 1916.


The Illustrated War News, 6 September 1916.

 Unlike many of the friendly mascots, reliant horses, and loyal dogs mentioned in this article, camels developed little in the way of companionship and could be quite cantankerous animals despite their records of service. As J. Davidson and Frank Reid put it, “we find that the animal has no feelings of gratitude for any kindness done to it, and has no companionship for man or beast. It will accept food from the hand but will just as likely try to eat the hand that feeds it.”[53] The photograph below, lifted from the IWN, shows “an exceptional camel – one in a thousand” as it allows the soldier to put his hand in its mouth unharmed.[54] The document recalls Kipling’s poem Oonts (1890), about the military use of the camel. The lines of the final stanza “‘Ho! then we strips 'is saddle off, and all 'is woes is past: / 'E thinks on us that used 'im so, and gets revenge at last” seem to explain the camel’s hostility, as he has been “used” and sorrowed by the soldiers.[55]


The Illustrated War News, 28 November 1918.


Resources: Meat and Oil

Hitherto, this article has discussed the services that living animals provided. Yet many animals were not required alive — their bodies were used for resources. Photographs from 1916 show an elephant and two lions “killed for meat rations” in Rhodesia in order to “furnish food” for the native forces.[56] The lions, once labelled “king of beasts”, lie dead after being shot and people are photographed “cutting up the carcase of a big tusker”.[57] 

The Illustrated War News, 25 October 1916.

“The dwindling world fauna of this planet is in urgent need of international game laws and a supernational game-keeper. Species of whales are being exterminated because the ocean is no man’s land.” – H. G. Wells [58]

With both the Allied and Central Powers determined to do whatever it took to win the war, marine conservation was hardly one of their top priorities. As novelist H. G. Wells observed, whales were being exterminated at an alarming rate as they provided a commodity that was invaluable for the war effort: whale oil. This was an important source of fat which could be treated to release glycerol, essential for the production of nitroglycerin that was in-turn used to make explosives. It was also a great lubricant which was vital for cleaning rifles and maintaining military machinery, as well as protecting soldiers’ feet from trench foot. The production of sandbags also relied on whale oil, as it allowed the jute fibres to be spun mechanically. Around 175,000 whales were killed to supply the war effort.[59] Germany also implored fishermen to cull dolphins and seals to be used for military purpose. The penguin populations of Macquarie Island were severely threatened, as they too were killed as whales became scarce.[60] The anthropocentric treatment of these marine creatures very nearly left a catastrophic legacy of extinction.

"Fishermen, bring train oil! Catch dolphins and seals!"


“War is waged by men only, but it is not possible to wage it upon men only” – Helena Swanwick [61]

The Illustrated War News collection hosted by British Online Archives sheds light on the experiences of a variety of animals during the war. The individual stories of animals who served, consoled, and inspired, that have been highlighted in this article represent just a handful of the largely forgotten stories of the 16 million animals that experienced the First World War. Literature such as War Horse and Winnie the Pooh has helped to preserve some of these stories within our cultural memory. Yet millions of animals were lost without record. In the document below, which dates from 1915, The Blue Cross sought to remind people that war animals lacked autonomy and that they also, crucially, had no comprehension of the concept of war. Thus, their emotions and motives were not comparable to those of the soldiers. The war was won by humans at the expense of the animals’ loss.

Blue Cross Fund poster, 1915


[1] Richard Van Emden, Tommy’s Ark: Soldiers and their Animals in the Great War (London: Bloomsbury, 2011),  90.

[2] Robert Jeffcoate, “Teaching poetry of the First World War in the secondary school”, Critical Survey 2, no. 2 (1990), 151. 

[3] Neil R. Storey, Animals in the First World War (Oxford: Shire Publications, 2014), n.p.

[4] Nigel Barry Allsopp, “War Heroes too: Military Mascots of The First World War and Their Legacy” (Unpublished M.A. thesis, Massey University, 2020), 7.

[5] The Illustrated War News, 20 January 1915.

[6] Michael C. Ashton, Sampo V. Paunonen, Edward Helmes, Douglas N. Jackson, “Kin Altruism, Reciprocal Altruism, and the Big Five Personality Factors”, Evolution and Human Behaviour 19, no. 4, (1998), 244.

[7] “The Animals in War Memorial”, Hyde Park, London, (2004), available at

[8] Alfred Lord Tennyson, “The Charge of the Light Brigade”, Poetry Foundation, 1854, accessed 10 August 2023, lines 7-8

[9] The Times, “The Real Indestructible War Horse”, 1 January, 2012, available at

[10] “9 Famous Animals From The First And Second World Wars”, Imperial War Museum, 2023, accessed 10 August 2023, available at

[11] Helen B. McCartney, “The First World War soldier and his contemporary image in Britain”, International Affairs (Royal Institute of International Affairs 1944-) 90, no. 2 (2014), 314.

[12] Micheal Morpurgo, War Horse (London: Egmont Books Limited, 1982), 52.

[13] John Ellis, Cavalry: The History of Mounted Warfare (London: Pen & Sword Books Ltd, 2004) 174–176.

[14] The Illustrated War News, 6 September 1916.

[15] The Illustrated War News, 16 December 1914.

[16] Ibid.

[17] The Illustrated War News, 4 October 1916.

[18] Ibid.

[19] “Animals in World War One”, RSPCA (2023). Accessed 14 August 2023,

[20] The Illustrated War News, 6 October 1915.

[21] Oliver Hyde, "The Dog In Modern Warfare", The Windsor Magazine: an Illustrated Monthly for Men and Women (London: Ward, Lock and Bowden Limited, 1895), 371, available at

[22] The Illustrated War News, 17 February 1915.

[23] Evening Star, “Uncle Sam Has a Training School for War Dogs”, 26 August 1917, available at,0.464,0.989,0.953,0.

[24] The Illustrated War News, 29 December 1915.

[25] Peter Andrews, “Stubby: A True Story of Friendship”, The School Librarian 67, no. 1 (2019), 27.

[26] Iain Banks, “Digging in the Dark”, Journal of Conflict Archaeology 9, no. 3 (2014), 165.

[27] Paul Bartsch, "Abstract of address: Our poison-gas detector and how it was discovered", Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences 10, no. 10 (1920), 309.

[28] The Illustrated War News, 27 September 1916.

[29] Allsopp, War Heroes Too, 7.

[30] The Illustrated War News, 2 January 1918.

[31] The Illustrated War News, 27 September 1916.

[32] “Jackie; The South African Baboon soldier of World War One”, The Observation Post, 2017, accessed 14 August 2023, available at

[33] Julia Moberg, Animal Heroes (Lake Forest: MoonDance Press, 2017), 32.

[34] Storey, Animals in the First World War, n.p.

[35] Erin Mason, “WINNIE: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh”, Children’s Book and Media Review 37, no. 1 (2016), 1.

[36] Audrey Davenport, "Carrier Pigeons: From Past to Present," The Mall 2 no. 23 (2018), 143.

[37] The Illustrated War News, 14 March 1917.

[38] Ibid.

[39] Ibid.

[40] The Illustrated War News, 20 March 1918.

[41] Frank A. Blazich Jr, “Notre Cher Ami: The Enduring Myth and Memory of a Humble Pigeon,” Journal of Military History 85, no. 3 (2021), 646–77. 

[42] Hyde, The Dog In Modern Warfare, 372 .

[43] The Illustrated War News, 20 February 1918.

[44] Dr. Richard Simmons, “Steam, Steel and Lizzie the Elephant - The Steel Industry, Transport Technology and Urban Development In Sheffield, 1800–1914” (Unpublished PhD thesis, University of Leicester, 1995), 1.

[45] The Illustrated War News, 9 February 1916.

[46] Ibid.

[47] Rudyard Kipling, “Mandalay”, 'If–' and Other Poems (London: Michael O’Hara Books Limited, 2002), 15, line 23.

[48] “World War One: The circus animals that helped Britain”, BBC News, 2013, accessed 15 August 2023, available at

[49] The Illustrated War News, 28 November 1917.

[50] The Illustrated War News, 10 May 1916; Erika Cudworth and Steve Hobden, “The Posthuman Way of War”, Security Dialogue 46, no. 6 (2015), 513–529.

[51] The Illustrated War News, 29 March 1916.

[52] The Illustrated War News, 1 November 1916.

[53] J. Davidson and Frank Reid, “Foreword” to The Fighting Cameliers (Sydney: Halstead Printing Co., 1934), ix, quoted in Cudworth and Hobden, The Posthuman Way of War.

[54] The Illustrated War News, 28 November 1917.

[55] Rudyard Kipling, “Oonts”, The Works of Rudyard Kipling (Hertfordshire: Wordsworth Editions Limited, 1994), 421, lines 35–36.

[56] The Illustrated War News, 25 October 1916.

[57] Ibid.

[58] H. G. Wells, “The impudence of flags: Our power resources and My elephants, whales, and gorillas”, A Year of Prophesying (Project Gutenberg Australia, 1924), available at

[59] Philip Hoare, “The animal victims of the first world war are a stain on our conscience”, The Guardian, 2018, accessed 14 August 2023, available at

[60] “The Forgotten Animals of the First World War”, Imperial War Museum, 2020, accessed 14 August 2023, available at  

[61] Helena Swanwick, Women and War (London: Union of Democratic Control, 1915), 1.

Authored by Laura Wales

Laura Wales

Laura Wales is a Marketing and Editorial Assistant at British Online Archives. She is an English Literature graduate from Durham University. She has a particular interest in the history of the First World War, along with the legacies of historical literature in contemporary writing.

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The British Online Archives blog is a platform for scholars to present their research to students and the general public. The posts cover a range of historical themes and debates from around the world. The opinions expressed represent those of the authors, not British Online Archives or Microform.

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