The Australian War Animal Memorial Organisation (AWAMO) exhibited at the 2023 Melbourne Festival, and visitors had the opportunity to buy a Purple Poppy to support our soldiers (the two-legged diggers), as well as a red poppy.
If you couldn’t make it to the event but still wanted to support the cause, you could purchase a Purple Poppy here. All proceeds went to help create memorials to honor War Animals. Click here to visit and Like the Purple Poppies Facebook page.
Dogs in combat
Throughout our nation’s history, in theatres of combat and in peacetime, animals have served and protected members of Australia’s Armed Forces. As beasts of burden, messengers, protectors, mascots, and friends, the war animals have demonstrated true valour and an enduring partnership with humans.
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. 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. More than 1,500 dogs were used during the Korean War. It wasn’t until 1993, in Somalia, that Aussie war dogs came home; the first time in our nation’s war history.
All creatures, great & small
A variety of animals, from insects to camels, carrier pigeons, mules and donkeys contributed in varying ways to the war effort. And 200,000 pigeons performed messenger missions during WWI and WWII and suffered huge losses. 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.
We acknowledge the ongoing support of Nigel Allsopp and Wendy Harrison who work closely with us to promote AWAMO. They are two of the most respected and vocal ambassadors for dogs in the country. Nigel has also worked extensively with the Australian Defence Force and the Police Dog Squad and is the founder of the AWAMO. His book, “Australian War Animals 100 Years On”, is a fascinating read.