Clydesdale Horse

Founded in 1910 in London, Our Dumb Friends’ League worked to ensure the welfare of animals used in the war. The League continues its mandate today in Denver, Colorado.
Credit: Library and Archives Canada, Acc. No. 1983-28-302.

While the memories and images of wastage often prevail when considering the use of animals in the First World War, it should be noted that many of the men were deeply impacted by their suffering. In his memoirs, Sniper Frank S. Iriam relates the following account of a Clydesdale horse with affection:

“We had an old roman-nosed Clydesdale in the transport that was a veteran and had been with the battalion through many battles. He had been wounded, shell-shocked and gassed. Now when he was taken to a bad place that was under fire, he knew what to expect. He would shiver, tremble all over, and break out in a sweat and whinny softly for sympathy. That old Clyde had real courage for he never baulked or refused to go… It seemed to get your goat worse than seeing men cut up. The men have an idea what it is all about but the horses have to take it as it comes and say nothing.”
(Glenn R. Iriam, In The Trenches – 1914-1918, p. 189)

Horses were employed in a myriad of positions, conventional or not. Pictured here is an Army Motor Car at Lark Hill, Salisbury, pulled by horses. [1915.]
Credit: Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/PA-004964.
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