By Jilly Cooper
Jilly Cooper has written a tribute to the position of animals in wartime. From the pigeons wearing important messages to and from the beleaguered urban throughout the Seige of Paris to canines sniffing out mines for the British invasion strength in international warfare II. A brilliant list of man's inhumanity to animals, and an surprising tale of braveness.
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M. J. Edwards. -Col. T. MacFetridge and Major J. P. Warren for their permission to quote from two stories in their book, Tales of the Mountain Gunners, and to the authors of those stories, General B. Daunt and Major J. Nettlefield. Nor would this book have been written without help from the various histories of the PDSA and the RSPCA, and the official histories in both wars of the RAVC. -Col. Keith Morgan Jones of the RAVC who not only entertained me most splendidly at their headquarters at Melton Mowbray, but also lent me every help while I was writing the book.
Over this fearful network of death traps, the wretched teams floundered, desperately groping for firm ground, often at dead of night and through blizzard and storm. If a horse shied at a shell bursting overhead, or collapsed from exhaustion under his heavy load, or merely took a false step, he’d be into a shell hole in a second, slithering down the greasy sides. His driver would make heroic attempts to rescue him, but there was always a risk that the rest of the team might be sucked under too, so a bullet through the head was usually the most the horse could hope for.
Within a few months of war breaking out, the two opposing sides were locked in a stalemate of trench warfare. This meant endless static lines of guns pounding the hell out of each other, pouring forth an endless stream of shells which broke up the ground, destroyed the drainage systems, and transformed the surrounding countryside for miles around into a treacherous sea of mud. These pounding lines of guns had to be continually fed as did the men in the trenches, but the ground was in such a frightful state that lorries and trucks were bogged down in a trice.
Animals in War by Jilly Cooper