Throughout our nation’s history, in theatres of combat and in peacetime, animals have served and protected members of Australia’s Armed Forces both here and around the world.
Click here to buy a Purple Poppy and all proceeds from the sale of merchandise goes to help create memorials to honour War Animals. Please also click here to visit and like the Purple Poppies Facebook page.
The Australian War Animal Memorial Organisation (AWAMO) asks that when buying a poppy, firstly support our soldiers (the two-legged diggers) and buy a red poppy as well. Throughout history, in war and in peacetime, animals and mankind have worked alongside each other. As beasts of burden, messengers, protectors, mascots, and friends, the war animals have demonstrated true valour and an enduring partnership with humans.
- It is estimated more than 400,000 Walers (an Australian breed of riding horse originally called ‘New South Walers’) left our shores used as beasts of burden or as cavalry mounts.
- In WWI, the Allies used 20,000 Dogs in the war effort. Being sure-footed, Dogs were able to run through the mud and craters of ‘No Man’s Land’. As they were smaller and faster than humans, snipers found Dogs more difficult to shoot.
- More than 1,500 Dogs were used during the Korean War.
- In the Vietnam War, Dogs became an invaluable asset to Australian soldiers. Sadly, due to policy and quarantine regulations, all serving Australian Dogs were left behind for the enemy when orders were given to withdraw. This is still an emotive issue for many Vietnam veterans.
- It wasn’t until 1993 that Aussie war Dogs came home from Somalia, the first time in our nation’s war history.
- A variety of animals, from insects to camels, carrier pigeons, mules and donkeys contributed in varying ways to the war effort.
- 200,000 pigeons performed messenger missions during World War I and II and suffered huge losses.
We would like to acknowledge the ongoing support of Nigel Allsopp who continues to work closely with us on the Hero Dog Tribute program and is one of the most respected and vocal ambassadors for Dogs in the country. Nigel has worked extensively with the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and the Police Dog Squad and is the founder of the Australian War Animal Organisation (AWAMO). His book ‘Australian War Animals 100 Years On’ is also a fascinating read.