If you’ve noticed people wearing purple poppies in November, you may have wondered what they’re for. The purple poppy, created by the animal charity Animal Aid in 2006, pays tribute to all the animals who were sacrificed in world wars past and present.
In UK military service today, most animals are working dogs, particularly in the 1st Military Working Dog Regiment. However, historically, the greatest number of animal casualties in conflict have been horses and donkeys. Approximately, eight million died during the First World War.
A particular accolade of recognition was the PDSA Dickin Medal (pictured), which was instigated in 1943 by Maria Dickin to honour the work of animals in World War II. Recipients included the dog Rip (see below photo), who in 1945 was praised for locating many air-raid victims during The Blitz. The same year, a collie called Rob received the medal for making over 20 parachute descents with the SAS in North Africa. The bronze medallion was even given to feathered friends, such as the pigeon William of Orange who delivered messages from Operation Market Garden.
The trust between man and animal knows no bounds, they are loyal to the end. Never having a choice, always voiceless, they deserve so much respect, love and kindness. Thank you to all the animals who have served and help protect us.
Drove Veterinary Hospital and branch clinics in Wiltshire are selling knitted Purple Poppies to raise money for the Royal British Legion & Twigs Community Gardens if you would like to donate to this charity.