Past in pictures: How animals helped win the Second World War

By Rosemary Collins, 8 September 2017 - 2:17pm

It will be World Animal Day on 4 October.

To celebrate the work done by welfare organisations to improve the lives of animals, we look at how some creatures helped us during in the Second World War.

A dog's dinner

Caravan holidays in the 1930s
Drivers of the American Ambulance, founded by the American Society in London in 1940 to help air raid victims, share a cup of tea with their pet dog. (Planet News Archive/SSPL/Getty Images)

 

Helper horses

Young women camping in the 1920s
The Pack Transport Company of the Northern Command used horses to carry military supplies and ammunition around Britain in areas where wheeled transport couldn't go. Some of the horses had been hunters or show-jumpers before the war, and they could carry up to 320 pounds each. (Planet News Archive/SSPL/Getty Images)

 

British bulldog

Young boys whose holidays have been paid for by the local scout group
During War Weapons Week in 1940, communities around the country held events to raise money for the armed forces. Here, Queenie the bulldog and some sailors help raise funds for a battleship at a naval exhibition in Dorland Hall, Westminster. (Planet News Archive/SSPL/Getty Images)

 

Canine call-up

A man collects water from a stream on a camping trip in North Wales in the 1930s
In September 1942, the government appealed for dog owners to lend their pets to act as guard dogs against the possibility of sabotage. Among them was Sheila West of Barnet, shown here with her daughter reading their dog Towsa's 'call-up papers'. (Planet News Archive/SSPL/Getty Images)

 

Rabbits on parade

Workhouse children
As part of the Wartime Utility Exhibition at London Zoo in 1940, the Beveren Rabbit Club held a show for its animals. The club was founded in 1918, although the animals had been a popular show breed since 1905. Here, Mr FH Roberts judges the rabbits in the competition. (Fox Photos/Getty Images)

 

Pigs might fly... and dogs and goats


The animal mascots adopted by the RAF would often accompany aircrews across the British Channel to fight the German forces advancing through continental Europe. Dogs were a popular choice but one of these pilots, pictured in 1941, flew with a kid he named ‘William B Goat’. (Hulton-Deutsch Collection/ Corbis via Getty Images)

 

Air mail

Young women hang up lanterns for a festival while camping near Loch Lomond in Scotland
An injured carrier pigeon, one of nearly 250,000 used by the British military, returns home in 1941. (Planet News Archive/SSPL/Getty Images)

 

The ship's cat

Young women eat their breakfast outdoors on a camping trip in 1931
While HMS Furious undergoes repairs in the USA in 1941, the British aircraft carrier’s captain overseas the work along with the ship’s feline mascot. (Planet News Archive/SSPL/Getty Images)

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