We saw already what amazing roles dogs played during the Great War and how many lives they saved. They’ve been helping in the trenches, acted as ratters, scouts, messengers, sentries; they’ve been Red Cross helpers, pulled wheeled machine guns or sleigh with supplies.
Not in the least important was the role dogs’ role as mascots, making the soldiers’ lives more bearable under the severe stress of war, constant battle and the constant death threats.
The size of the dog never mattered.
Through their warm companionship, their eagerness to please, their courage and loyalty and mostly through their friendly nature, dogs managed to raise the morale of the troops better than anything else.
Sgt. Stubby was an American Pit Bull Terrier mix and the most decorated dog of World War One: for discovering, capturing, and alerting the Allies to the presence of a German spy.
He has been through the World War as mascot for the 102nd Infantry, 26th Division. Stubby visited the White House to call on President Coolidge. November 1924
“Rags”, Mascot & War Hero
Rags found in Paris and fought alongside the U.S. 1st Infantry division as a mascot and a messenger dog. After arriving on US soil he became a lieutenant colonel and a celebrity.
Jack, the New Zealand Engineers mascot
Jack was a mascot dog attached to the main body of the New Zealand Engineers during their service in France during the First World War. This photograph was taken at Bertrancourt, France, on 6 April 1918 by Henry Armytage Sanders.
Gibby, the Canadian’s mascot
“Gibby,” the mascot of a Canadian regiment, and his C.O.
A Jack Russell Terrier mascot of the 28th Division
What is special about this image is that the 28th Division keystone is clearly visible on the mascot’s vest, as well as two overseas chevrons.
The 28th Infantry Division is a unit of the Army National Guard and is the oldest division-sized unit in the armed forces of the United States. Some of the units of the division can trace their lineage to Benjamin Franklin’s battalion.
Caesar, a company, 4 Battalion, New Zealand Rifle Brigade NZ mascot
Caesar was a trained Red Cross dog and helped rescue wounded troops during the Battle of the Somme in 1916.
Cesar, a bulldog and his handler, Rifleman Thomas Samuel Tooman, embarked for Egypt in 1016. His handler was assigned to train as an Ambulance Driver and Caesar was trained as a Red Cross Dog. Next they embarked for France, for the Battle of Somme.
Caesar was killed in action on No Man’s Land. He was found alongside a soldier who had also died, his hand resting on Caesar’s head.
Sammy, mascot of the Northumberland Fusiliers
Sometimes even enemy’s pets would be adopted after a battle, renamed and loved. And sometimes they got hurt too.
Some mascots took for the skies.
And not all mascots were dogs.
Do return for more posts on the role dogs played during WW2, the Vietnam War, the Korean War, in Israeli Special Forces, during the fall of the Berlin Wall, during the Gulf War, the Iraq War and the War in Afghanistan.
Do check out my book Joyful Trouble, A humorous read about an incredible dog and how he had found his true, yet unexpected calling. It is a book for all ages.
My adult fiction book, Silent Heroes, is a #1 New Release, a contemporary fiction novel, filled with action and emotional twists and turns. “Silent Heroes” has a strong historical and cultural feel of the area when the action takes place, Afghanistan.