RSPCA pays respects to the animals and soldier who lost their lives in war

To mark a centenary of the First World War, the RSPCA paid its respects at the Animals in War memorial site in London to remember the animals and soldiers who lost their lives.

As the charity marks 100 years since WW1 it also reflects in the 2.5 million animals helped during the war.

The RSPCA was 90 years old by the start of the First World War and only had one clinic and animal home in Islington at that time.

With financial support from the War Office, the charity was able to build four hospitals to help animals during the war. RSPCA staff also enlisted in the Army Veterinary Corps (AVC) and the charity raised £250,000 for veterinary supplies to help alleviate the suffering of horses on the frontline.

The money supplied 13 veterinary hospitals with an operating theatre, forage barns, dressing sheds, 180 horse drawn and 16 motorised ambulances.

In total, over two and a half million animals passed through the hospitals between 1914 and 1918, with two million of these being made healthy and available for further service.

The ceremony commemorated the sacrifice of animals in wartime and the significant contribution of countless dogs, cats, birds and even camels in the war effort.

RSPCA Deputy Chief Executive, Chris Wainwright, said: “This was heartfelt and touching ceremony to commemorate all the animals and soldiers who lost their lives in war. It’s a time to reflect on the human and animal pain, distress and losses caused through human conflict and commemorate those who defended and protected animals, and the animals themselves who served not just in WW1 and WW2, but also wars across the world today.”

RSPCA Inspectorate Staff Officer, Simon Osbourne, said: “To mark 100 years since the First World War, its incredibly important to honour he valiant efforts of RSPCA staff and all animals that were lost during the war efforts.

“During the First World War, the RSPCA worked tirelessly to help the sick and wounded horses from the frontline. We also lost 18 RSPCA officers in WW1 and there were many more who survived, labouring through these and subsequent wars to protect horses, mules and other animals under fire.”

The RSPCA will also attend the National Service of Remembrance held at The Cenotaph in Whitehall on Remembrance Sunday.