‘Animals at war’ memorial: Appeal for funds

A Soldier’s Kiss

“Only a dying horse! Pull off the gear, and slip the needless bit from frothing jaws, drag it aside there, leaving the road way clear, the battery thunders on with scarce a pause.

“Prone by the shell-swept highway there it lies with quivering limbs, as fast the life-tide fails, dark films are closing o’er the faithful eyes that mutely plead for aid where none avails.

“Onward the battery rolls, but one there speeds needlessly of comrades voice or bursting shell, back to the wounded friend who lonely bleeds beside the stony highway where he fell.

“Only a dying horse! He swiftly kneels, lifts the limp head and hears the shivering sigh kisses his friend, while down his cheek there steals sweet pity’s tear, “Goodbye old man, Goodbye”.

“No honours wait him, medal, badge or star, though scarce could war a kindlier deed unfold; he bears within his breast, more precious far beyond the gift of kings, a heart of gold.” 

Henry Chappell, 1874 – 1937.

Memorial for animals killed in war

Toronto Sun

Doug Hempstead: July 13th, 2011

OTTAWA – Lloyd Swick is 19 in dog years, and even younger in spirit.

The 89-year-old, 33-year vet of Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry used his youthful spirit to convince the NCC to grant its complicated blessing on a new interpretive memorial to Canada’s war dead.

From the twinkle in Swick’s eye you can tell there’s more to the story.

The spry, kayaking, golfing, piano-playing and McDonald’s-loving senior is raising the $100,000 needed to create a memorial to war animals.

The piece will be complete by the fall of 2012 in Confederation Park, a “prime bit of real estate,” in Swick’s opinion.

Indeed, according to the NCC, the park has no more room for new memorials.

The one for animals in war will be connected to the existing Boer War monument, which commemorates the 1899-1902 South African battle where Canada sent some 50,000 horses to haul cannons, soldiers and ammunition.

Canada still uses animals in war — specifically in Afghanistan where dogs are used to search for mine clusters as well as search and rescue operations.

Historically war animals have included glow worms for navigation and as reading lights, pack camels in India and Africa, elephants in the jungles of Burma, mine clearance dolphins in the Gulf War and an estimated eight million horses or mules which have been killed providing mobility to soldiers and equipment in the past century alone.

The military has used messenger pigeons, gas-detecting canaries, protection dogs, companion animals and mascots.

Swick looks up the street to the National War Memorial.

“See those 22 men underneath,” he asks. “Every one of them would tell you we might not have won the war without animals.”

His vision began in the fall of 2009 when he read of the elaborate and expensive monument the Brits had erected near Marble Arch. Swick decided to “whip up a quick submission” for the NCC.

After numerous meetings and a file now 10-inches thick, the final designs and wording are approaching completion. They’re already planning an unveiling event.

“We need the monument because our casualty list of close to 60,000 in the First World War and some 48,000 in the Second World War would have been much higher had it not been for the support of our animals,” he said. “The animals managed to bring the guns forward, the animals that managed to bring the provisions forward, the animals that evacuated our wounded. We owe a great debt to them.”

If you’d like to contribute to Swick’s fundraising campaign, donations can be made to the Animals in War Dedication Fund at any TD Canada Trust via account #268-5218857.

doug.hempstead@sunmedia.ca

Twitter:@DougHempstead

See original here.

See “Photos of the Great War – Forgotten Heroes” here.

See also the “Animals in War Memorial Fund” (U.K.) website here.