Animals in the First World War Book Review

Animals in the First World War

Animals in the First World War Book Review

First World War Book Review – written by Roberta Collanimals in the first world war

In 2016 military heroes dedication, bravery and sacrifices are commemorated with the utmost respect and

admiration. As they absolutely should be. However it is often the case through remembering the courageous men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for the benefit of this nation; we overlook their equally valiant counterparts. It is through this informative, yet sentimentally moving book, by Peter Street that we explore animals less exposed yet no less vital roles in war and how it affected animals in general.

This book gives a clear and concise description of each animals specific involvement in World War one. This ranges from animals that the reader would generally associate with warfare, such as the gallant horse and dog, to interesting insights into the employment of the, up until now, uncelebrated glow-worms position in the war effort. The affect of the war on animals and their owners is often neglected as an inferior notion against the atrocities inflicted upon troops on the western front. ‘Animals in the First World War’ however uncovers the affects of war on animals not just who were serving but also pets at home and the animals of London of Zoo. A particular example of the personal turmoil which I know will resonate with equestrians and animal lovers alike, is the anecdote of how three children wrote to Lord Kitchener, the Secretary of State for war, to ask that their pony may be exempt from army enlistment. This touching tale just gives an insight to the reader of the realities of having to give up beloved pets to the very uncertain future of a post at war. However it is certainly not a book that just evokes pity or sadness. It is uplifting to see the animal heroes being paid tribute to and to read of their bravery creates a feeling of appreciation with our so often overlooked friends.


Images and captions are used throughout which helps the reader to create a full picture in their heads to complement and enhance their understanding of the subject. The large uncrowded text style makes it uncomplicated and easy reading for all ages looking to gain an insight into animals involvement in the First World War. This book successfully communicates the plight of animals during wartime and gives the reader an appreciation of just how vital they were in the First World War effort. Street consistently highlights the fact that these animals who ‘also served’ actually ‘had no choice’ this recognition of their involuntary status really conveys their status as heroes to the reader.

100% of the profits from sales of the publication go to The Royal British Legion.

To purchase the Animals in the First World War book please visit

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