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Tales of Animals in War - 2006 Edition - Introduction

More Than Mascots: Animals Aid in War and Peace Support Missions

Remembrance Club Members Share Stories of Animals in War. Left to Right: Squeaker, Bonfire Jr., Simone, Gandy, Ellie and Win

Imagine being a pigeon awarded a medal for bravery in war! This is just one of the interesting stories you’ll find in this special newspaper produced for you by Veterans Affairs Canada.

The members of the Remembrance Club (Gandy, Squeaker, Win, Simone, Ellie and Bonfire Jr.) have ancestors who were pretty amazing animal heroes. They worked to help humans in times of war and peace support missions.

Every Remembrance Day (November 11), it is important to remember the men and women who served and died in war and peace support efforts. It is also nice to remember the brave efforts of the animals who served and helped these people.

In this newspaper you will read the incredible stories about the relatives of the members of the Remembrance Club. Their relatives saved lives, pulled supplies over mountains and through streams, carried the mail, delivered messages, sniffed for bombs and remained loyal friends to the men and women in Canada’s military. These brave animals helped Canadian soldiers and people in countries around the world.

Glow Worms Do Their Part


Soldiers in the First World War spent a lot of time in trenches and tunnels. They could not use lanterns at night because the enemy would see them. So, soldiers used glow worms to read important messages or maps in the dark. The worms give off a blue-green light.



Rats still serve soldiers today! Gambian giant pouched rats locate landmines in African fields. The rats can smell the mines, and aren’t big enough to make them explode. The rats get a banana or a peanut when they help find a mine.

Tunnelers' Friends

During the Second World War, soldiers sent doves and rats into the tunnels behind enemy lines to detect bad air and poison gas.

Pest Brigade

Not all animals in war were helpful. During the day, mockingbirds, toads and moths bothered soldiers with their cooing, croaking and scurrying. At night, when soldiers needed their rest or were on guard, night pests scared them.

Smart Dogs Save Lives: Meet Fanny and Alex, Mine Detection Specialists!

Fanny and Alex Cards

Mine Detection Dogs Fanny and Alex Source: Canadian Landmine Foundation

Fanny and Alex, two German Shepherd dogs, spent six months training to recognize the smell of the explosives in landmines. Terrible injuries and death can result when someone steps on one of these buried explosives. Fanny and Alex and other “de-mining dogs” sniff out some of the millions of landmines buried around the world.

The Dickin Medal

Dickin Medal

The Dickin Medal, which was created in 1943 by Maria Dickin, is awarded to animals for their brave acts. Only 60 animals have received the Dickin Medal: 32 pigeons, 24 dogs, three horses, and one cat - Simon!

The words on the medal say: “For Gallantry” and “We also Serve.”

Don't Buy It

Poster: If you don't need it...Don't buy it

Wars cost a lot of money. During the Second World War, this poster reminds people to be careful about how much they are spending. Money is needed for soldiers’ food, clothing, and weapons.


© Library and Archives, CWM 19700186-048 (Alex McLaren)

Human and Animal Partnerships
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