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Recognition of Animals in War

Heroes Remember

Recognition of Animals in War

On one of the school walls that I attended, the school that I attended on the wall were pictures of animals in war and you could see the donkeys and the mules trying to get the gun carriages forward and the soldiers pushing on the wheels of the gun carriages and I thought of my father in law who had been in the remount depot looking after the horses and told me about how the fear of the horses in the holds of the ships crossing the Atlantic and the pounding around and how they’d often fall and stomp one another. And then over there, life was not much better, there was not enough hay to feed them and this led me up to thinking about a monument for the animals in war. And not only, you know, the camels that carried the water tanks through the desert for our North African troops, the elephants that made the roadways through Burma and, of course, even our canaries, who warned the…. We did a lot of, Canadians were great miners and we often would mine into the enemy position underground and to give safety to that mining operation required a warning for carbon monoxide and you know what form that warning was, canaries. You got it, even the canaries. And our pigeons, the little message pouches strapped to their leg. We used to, I thought I saw a figure of two hundred and seventy pigeons a day carrying messages back and forth. And I must tell you as for the horses, something like eight million horses were lost in World War One and from all that I decided to put up a monument to the Animals in War.

Mr. Swick details his involvement in spearheading the “Animals in War” project and his personal reasons for creating such a wonderful reminder of the important role animals played during wartime.

Lloyd Swick

Mr. Lloyd Swick was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1922. After attending Catholic school Mr. Swick joined the military and served as a platoon commander with the Calgary Highlanders travelling overseas during WWII. Post war he attended the University of Manitoba earning a BSc. degree. Rejoining the military he became part of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry Regiment and served in Korea holding rank of officer. Continuing on with his military service, Mr. Swick undertook United Nations Observer duties in India and Pakistan. After his service, he became the driving force behind having a monument erected to honour “Animals in War” which serves to highlight and acknowledge their wartime contribution. He is the founder and coordinator of this permanent monument in Ottawa, Ontario and continues to promote the uniqueness of this history. Mr. Swick resides in Ottawa with his family and continues his involvement with veterans and seniors as well as speaking to youth about his military service.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
April 30, 2015
Person Interviewed:
Lloyd Swick
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Liberation of Holland
Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI)
Infantry Officer

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