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Purple Poppies for Animals

Thursday 10 October 2019

Purple Poppies for Animals
These Purple Poppies are on sale to raise awareness and to remember all animal victims of warfare.

"We will never forget them, nor the sacrifice they have given and continue to give".

Purple Poppies available from:

  • ANIMAL AID
  • GSPCA
  • CREATURE COMFORTS
  • TREVS MOTORCYCLES

Please wear your Purple Poppy, with pride, alongside your Red Poppy.

On sale at the GSPCA and a number of other locations for a minimum donation of £1 the proceeds will help animals in Guernsey.

The GSPCA's opening hours are 9am to 5pm Monday to Saturday and 11am to 4pm on Sunday.

Steve Byrne GSPCA Manager said “A huge thanks to those that have kindly made these wonderful Purple Poppies which are on sale for a second year at the GSPCA and other locations.”

“We only have a small number of the Purple Poppies on sale so please pop in soon to get yours.”

"Every year at this time we remember the lost and fallen that have gone before us."

Remembrance Day (also known as Poppy Day, Armistice Day or Veterans Day) is a memorial day observed in Commonwealth countries to remember the members of their armed forces who have died in the line of duty since World War I. This day, or alternative dates, are also recognized as special days for war remembrances in many non-Commonwealth countries. Remembrance Day is observed on 11 November to recall the official end of World War I on that date in 1918; hostilities formally ended "at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month" of 1918 with the German signing of the Armistice ("at the 11th hour" refers to the passing of the 11th hour, or 11:00 a.m.)

The day was specifically dedicated by King George V on 7 November 1919 as a day of remembrance of members of the armed forces who were killed during World War I. This was possibly done upon the suggestion of Edward George Honey to Wellesley Tudor Pole, who established two ceremonial periods of remembrance based on events in 1917.

The red remembrance poppy has become a familiar emblem of Remembrance Day due to the poem "In Flanders Fields". These poppies bloomed across some of the worst battlefields of Flanders in World War I, their brilliant red colour an appropriate symbol for the blood spilled in the war.

During this and many wars the troops could have not have done without the many animals that assisted them. Joey the Donkey was one of the most famous from Guernsey who wore the colours of the Royal Guernsey Light Infantry. You can see these colours and find out a lot more about Joey at Castle Cornet.

Dogs had a vital part to play in World War One as the complexes of trenches spread throughout the Western Front. Dogs were used as messengers and proved to be as reliable as soldiers in the dangerous job of running messages.

The complexities of trench warfare meant that communication was always a problem. Field communication systems were crude and there was always the very real possibility that vital messages from the front would never get back to headquarters or vice versa. Human runners were potentially large targets and weighed down by uniforms there was a chance that they would not get through. In the heat of a battle, there was even less of a chance of a runner getting through as the enemy's artillery was likely to be pounding your frontline and the area behind it. Vehicles were also problematic as they could breakdown or the 'roads' could have been reduced to a mushy pulp and travel on them made impossible.

Dogs were the obvious solution to this pressing problem. A trained dog was faster than a human runner, presented less of a target to a sniper and could travel over any terrain. Above all, dogs proved to be extremely reliable if they were well trained. A dog training school was established in Scotland and a recruit from this school travelled over 4000 metres on the Western Front with an important message to a brigade's headquarters. The dog traveled this distance (war records classed it as "very difficult" terrain) in less than sixty minutes. All other methods of communicating with the headquarters had failed - but the dog had got through.

Dogs also had another role to play on the Western Front. For men trapped in the horrors of trench warfare, a dog in the trenches (whether a messenger dog or not) was a psychological comfort that took away, if only for a short time, the horrors they lived through. For many soldiers on any of the sides that fought in the trenches, a dog must have reminded them of home comforts.

But there have been many other animals before and since that both helped the troops and were rescued.

One of the most famous dogs of all time is Rin Tin Tin. He was the puppy of German war dogs, found in Lorraine, France on 15 September 1918 by Captain Lee Duncan, in an abandoned German war dog station. After the war, Duncan developed Rin Tin Tin, or "Rinty" into the first animal actor to achieve wide public acclaim. He made his film debut in 1922 starring in the silent film "The Man from Hell's River." For the next 10 years he was one of the top stars of Warner Bros. and his descendants kept the film dynasty going for many decades. At the time Rin Tin Tin came to the U.S. the German Shepherd breed was not well known, but now it is one of the most popular breeds and dominates the field of Military Working Dogs.

Stubby, a Bull Terrier mix, was the most decorated war dog in U.S. history. He was picked up as a stray in 1917, by Private J. Robert Conroy when the homeless dog appeared at the training camp of the 102nd Infantry at Yale University. Conroy and buddies kept Stubby with them through all their drills and training and, in July 1917, when it came time to ship out for France, they smuggled Stubby aboard ship. After further training, Stubby went with the 102nd Infantry to the front and was in the trenches 5 February 1918. He participated in 17 engagements in four World War I offensives (Aisne-Marne, Champagne-Marne, St. Mihiel, and Meuse Argonne). There are many stories of heroic deeds by Stubby as well as anecdotes like his ability to salute by putting one paw over his eye. Most of these cannot be confirmed, but nonetheless Stubby became a folk hero, in demand for parades, war bond rallies, hospital visits, and press interviews. Stubby was rewarded for his service with the NCO rank of Sergeant and multiple medals.

Judy (1937 – 17 February 1950) was a ship's dog on board HMS Gnat and HMS Grasshopper before and during World War II. She helped save the lives of the crew of the Grasshopper following the sinking of the ship, and, once captured by the Japanese, helped the men in the Prisoner-of-war camp. She struck up a friendship with Frank Williams, with whom she spent the rest of her life. She was the only dog to be registered as a Second World War Prisoner of War, and survived for a while in the jungles of Sumatra after the guards had sentenced her to death. Following the war, she came to the United Kingdom with Williams and was awarded the Dickin Medal by the PDSA, considered to be the animals' VC.

Just Nuisance was the only dog ever to be officially enlisted in the Royal Navy. He was a Great Dane who from 1939-44 served at HMS Afrikander, a Royal Navy shore establishment in Simon's Town, South Africa. He died in 1944 and was buried with full military honours.

Rifleman Khan was an Alsatian dog who was lent to the War Office to become a military dog during World War II. He was assigned to the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) and took part in the Battle of the Scheldt. He earned the Dickin Medal, which is considered to be the Victoria Cross for animals.

Chips the dog was the most decorated war dog from World War II. Chips was a German Shepherd-Collie-Siberian Husky mix owned by Edward J. Wren of Pleasantville, NY. During the war, private citizens like Wren donated their dogs for duty. Chips shipped out to the War Dog Training Center, Front Royal, Virginia, in 1942 for training as a sentry dog. He served with the 3rd Infantry Division in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, France and Germany. His handler was Pvt. John P. Rowell. Chips served as a sentry dog for the Roosevelt-Churchill conference in 1943. Later that year, during the invasion of Sicily, Chips and his handler were pinned down on the beach by an Italian machine-gun team. Chips broke from his handler and jumped into the pillbox, attacking the gunners. The four crewmen were forced to leave the pillbox and surrendered to US troops. In the fight he sustained a scalp wound and powder burns. Later that day, he helped take 10 Italians prisoner. For his actions during the war, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, and Purple Heart. However, these awards were later revoked due to an Army policy preventing official commendation of animals. His unit unofficially awarded him a Theater Ribbon with an Arrowhead for an assault landing, and Battlestars for each of his eight campaigns. Chips was discharged in December 1945 and returned to the Wren family. In 1990, Disney made a TV movie based on his life, entitled Chips, the War Dog.

Gunner (born c. August 1941) was a stray male kelpie who became notable for his reliability to accurately alert allied airforce personnel that Japanese aircraft were approaching Darwin during World War II.

From all at the GSPCA We Will Remember Them.

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