Picture Postcards from the Great War

War Dogs on ww1 Postcards

The use of dogs in warfare has a long history and started in ancient times - from war dogs trained in combat, to their use as scouts, sentries and tracker dogs.

Many early civilizations used dogs in conflict and as the methods of warfare progressed, the dog’s role in it changed also. For example, in 525 BC at the Battle of Pelusium, Cambyses II used a psychological tactic against the Egyptians, by placing dogs and other animals in the front line to effectively take advantage of the Egyptian reverence for animals. The Romans and Greeks strapped large mastiffs with armour or spiked collars and sent them into battle to attack the enemy.  Atilla the Hun used giant Molossian dogs, predecessors of the mastiff, as sentry and attack dogs in his campaigns. Throughout the Middle Ages gifts of war dog breeding stock between European royalty were seen as suitable tokens for exchange. In the 1500s, Spanish conquistadors used Mastiffs and other large breeds against the native peoples of Mexico and Peru. Frederick the Great used dogs as messengers during the Seven Years War with Russia. Napoleon also used dogs during his campaigns and they were used up until 1770 to guard naval installations in France. The first official use of dogs for military purposes in the United States was during the Seminole Wars. Hounds were used in the American Civil War to protect, send messages and guard prisoners.

Civilian Dog Carts

Before the outbreak of the 1914-1918 war, the peacetime role of certain types of dogs in some European countries was that of draught animals. The dogs were harnessed to small carts which they pulled around the streets of towns and villages for deliveries of milk, fresh vegetables and other goods and purposes. And of course picture postcards recorded these everyday scenes.

Dressed in a uniform and carrying a sword, the dog-cart inspectors were as familiar a sight on the streets of Belgium and other European towns and villages - as the dog carts themselves. An inspectors’ job was to see that perishable goods were up to a high standard and also that the dogs were fit and well. The inspector first asked to see the vendors license, after that, the dogs were unharnessed and examined for any injuries or wounds. The carts and harnesses were looked at also. If all was well the vendor was allowed to continue her trade.

Belgium 4 dog cart postcard
This cart, pulled by a sturdy looking four-dog team, carried a number of milk churns resting on a bed of straw. Two of the dogs were muzzled. On the back of the card was printed "Ern. Thill, Bruxelles, Serie Laitieres, No 1."
 dog cart milk inspector postcard
A scene in Brussels showing a milk inspector at work. He is using a hydrometer to test that the milk has not been watered down. Note the sword. Both dogs have been muzzled. A notice on the back wall (possibly super-imposed) reads "145. MILK INSPECTOR, BRUSSELS. BELGIUM"
In the 19th century dog-cart vending had been popular in Britain too. But in 1839 they were deemed “Cruel and unnecessary” and the city of London banned the practice. In 1841 the ban was officially extended throughout the UK.

The Great War 1914-1918

After the outbreak of the Great War in August 1914, the German armies invaded Belgium on their way to France and swept tens of thousands of panic-stricken civilians before them. The first use of dogs in the conflict may have been by Belgium civilians, who rapidly enlisted the help of 'man's best friend' to escape from the the terror unfolding before them. The refugees harnessed their dogs to small carts ‑ and fled. Scenes of the civilian exodus were captured on film and some of the photos were made into postcards and a good example is shown below.
civilian dog team
"THE WAR - THE EXODUS." This coloured printed photographic card was number F3 in the L V. C.' series and depicted one family's effort to keep ahead of the invader. Trotting alongside them are lancers of the Belgium Army. Before the war, we know that dogs were often used in Belgium to pull small carts crammed with goods and it probably would have been a familiar task for those depicted on the card. Although the load looks rather heavy for such small dogs. The card was mailed from "ARMY POST OFFICE S.15" on 19th October 1915. It also carries a  (type 2) "PASSED BY CENSOR No.974" mark. The message to Sheffield said "Still have plenty to do. Hope you got my last two letters."

War Dogs

The first to use dogs in a military context in ww1 seems to have been the Belgium Army. When war came, the idea of using dogs to pull small carts which carried Maxim machine guns was a natural progression from the pre-war civilian use of draught dogs. It was more economical to use Belgium Mastiffs for gun carrying work than horses and they could stay close to the guns when they were brought into action. Each dog team company consisted of three officers, 68 men, six gun transporting carriages, 12 ammunition carts, 40 dogs and four dogs in reserve. The weight of a Maxim was about 60Ibs. Again, as in peace time, picture postcards recorded the actions of the mobile dog units and some of these cards are shown below.

ww1 belgium gun dog teams
Two cards from the "WORLD WAR SERIES" with captions. left "The Belgian Machine Guns Transported by Dogs" The machine gun has been unloaded and set up in its firing position while the dog, still harnessed to the cart  - waits. right "Machine Guns (dog‑drawn) Advancing." The card depicts gun teams about to take up their firing positions. These sepia coloured cards are printed photographic and the captions are bi-lingual.
ww1 Belgium gun dogs
The card by 'L. V. C', was No. 2  from Series F and titled "EN GUERRE MITRAILLEUSES BELGES." and also "THE WAR - BELGIUM MACHINE GUNS."
ww1 postcard gun dog team
This card, also from a L.V.C. series is not numbered - but is titled "EN GUERRE - MITRAILLEUSES BELGES."  All the dogs appear to be wearing muzzles. The card carries a message dated 13th June 1915, from a British soldier in France to his son in Leeds. "How do [you] like this P. C, would you like some dogs like these fastened to a little cart? But I think you would like a little donkey better."
The gun dog teams saw action in the opening weeks of the conflict and the highly mobile units had some degree of success against the German Armies who rampaged through Belgium on their way to France. But as the ‘war of movement’ turned into trench warfare the dog teams became obsolete, although they were used later to transport ammunition and equipment and sometimes even wounded soldiers.

Major Edwin H. Richardson's War Dogs

The use of dogs in modern war had been the subject of discussion even before the outbreak of ww1. In 1898, Major Edwin H. Richardson took up the study of using the dog in battle zones and his work became well‑known. He bred and trained guard and ambulance dogs, which he sent to many parts of the world and in 1908 or possibly even earlier, Valentines produced a set of six cards with the title "Major Richardson's War Dogs." They were printed in colour and featured battlefield scenes with wounded soldiers being attended to by ambulance‑dogs. The cards were not numbered but had the captions: "WAITING FOR STRETCHER BEARERS", "ON GUARD", "FIRST AID", "THE ALARM", "OFF DUTY", and "A MISSING MAN LOCATED" and were perhaps used as advertising cards.
six cards Major Richardson's War Dogs
This set of six cards advertising Major Richardson's War Dogs were not sent through the post except the one at bottom left. It was mailed from Retford to Sheffield on 21st August 1908. There is no indication of who printed and published the cards but it was envisaged that when the next war came British soldiers would still be fighting in their red-coats. Most of the dogs featured in this set of six cards appear to be Farm Collies and Bernese Mountain dogs.
postcard Major richardson
'Sam' in Worthing, posted this real‑photographic card to 'Elsie' in Salop on 6th August 1906.  The message reads "Many thanks for the P.C. Had a very trying day. Such a lot of marching." The central figure in the photograph (behind the dog on the right) is Edwin Hautanville Richardson. The dogs - Border Collies -  were trained to seek out wounded men on the battlefield and alert the medics to them.
On the outbreak of the Great War, Major Richardson offered his dogs to the British Army - it declined his offer. The British Red Cross however, welcomed several of his ambulance‑dogs to its ranks. But, by the spring of 1915, it seems there had been a change of heart and It must have become evident to the War Office that trained dogs had a valuable role to play on the battlefield, because on 25th April 1915 The Graphic carried this advertisement, "Major Richardson's sentry dogs (Airedales) as supplied [to the] Army in France, 5gns."
ww1 major richardson
This card was published in 1914 by W.H. Smith and Sons and depicted Major Richardson and a trio of his dogs at the Bristol International Exhibition. The dog in the centre was an Airedale and the two on either side of it were Blood Hounds.
The exhibition was held in 1914 on Ashton Meadows in Bristol. It had been planned in 1912 and was a commercial venture created to celebrate the British Empire but did not receive the full support of the local authorities and was underfunded. Nevertheless, it opened on 28th May 1914 but was closed on 6th June. Further funding was raised and the exhibition reopened, but continued to struggle with lower than expected attendance and finally closed on 15th August just after the outbreak of the Great War.

The site covered 30 acres next to the River Avon and was served by two railway stations. The venue included: an International Pavilion and a concert hall and a replica of Bristol castle. Included in the displays was Richardson’s contingent of War Dogs - as seen on this postcard souvenir. Other attractions included a Scenic Railway and buildings representing "Shakespeare's England". The entire site was lit by electric lighting including the Pageant Ground which had a grandstand holding 4,000 people.

After the premature closure of the exhibition the site was used, until 1919, as barracks for The Gloucestershire Regiment.

richardsons war dogs
This printed-photographic card was sold or given away at the Imperial Services Exhibition and depicted "Major Richardson's Sentry & Ambulance Dogs" according to printed information on the back. It was printed by Gale & Polden. Each dog had it own tented kennel and ground sheet.

In due course and as mentioned above, the British Army had a change of heart about using dogs on the battlefield and the War Office instructed Richardson to establish a War‑Dog Training School at Shoeburyness in Essex. At first, it was difficult to get enough suitable animals. However, the Home for Lost Dogs at Battersea came to the rescue and many were taken from there. police were ordered to hand over to Richardson all the strays they found; other dogs' homes were searched for suitable conscripts and finally the government issued a public appeal for canine recruits. The response to the appeal was overwhelming. Over 7,000 animals were 'volunteered' for war service by their owners and here are two extracts from letters sent to the War Office. A widow wrote, "My husband has gone, my son has gone, please take my dog to bring this cruel war to an end." A little girl put pen to paper and wrote, "We have let daddy go to fight the Kaiser, and now we are sending Jack to do his bit."

At one period over 500 dogs were being trained at the school. The breeds considered most suitable for the task were airdales, sheep dogs, lurchers, collies, deer hounds and certain terriers. Some breeds were considered to be to playful for the role expected of them and others were "unlikely to show an independence of thought." Richardson commented that any dog "with a gaily carried tail, which curled over its back or sideways" was often of little use.

war dog in trenches postcard
The picture on this card by 'L.V.C.' is thought to be Richardson and one of his sentry dogs. Although the English version of the caption says "GUARD-DOG ON THE ENGLISH TRENCHES.", it was probably not a scene from the battle front. The soldiers appearance is neat and tidy and the trench is very shallow. Could the photograph have been taken at the official War-Dog Training School?
huns and red cross dogs
During the course of the Great War no fewer than 7,000 dogs were killed while serving with the warring nations. Ammunition‑carrying and dispatch‑carrying dogs were obvious targets for enemy snipers.

According to a postcard titled "HUN SPORTSMEN AND THE RED CROSS DOGS", printed and published by George Pulman & Son, medical dogs were not immune to being shot also. The card on the left was in the series "THE HUN" and showed a German soldier holding a pair of butchered
Red Cross animals. His comrade was saying, "At any rate, we shall have roast for dinner to‑day."

The card was number 436 and signed and dated 1916 by the artist E. Sachetti. It was "Passed by [the] Press Bureau."
Ambulance dogs had some success during the early weeks of the conflict alerting medics to wounded soldiers on the ever moving battlefields. But as the war of movement turned into trench warfare the usefulness of ambulance dogs seems to have diminished.

French War-dogs

British postcards of military and medical war‑dogs in action or about to go into action are not that common. There were also French and German cards of war dogs. Here are two examples of cards from France.
french war dogs

The card on the left published by 'Laureys, 17 rue dEnghien, Paris'  was posted by a British soldier from Panne to London on 12th October 1915. The message reads "My dear little girl, I take the pleasure to send you this card. This is of the Red Cross dogs. Please kiss mother for me." Dogs and handlers would be transported around the front in the motor vehicle behind them. The card on the right by E. Le Deley has captions in both French and English the latter reads "1914‑15 Ambulancier dogs starting for the front." The picture shows five Red Cross dogs and their French army handlers. The animals appear to be all different breeds.

Another French card was number '607' and titled 'La Grande Guerre 1914‑15'. Produced by W Richard, 84 faub, du temple ‑ Paris', it was a black and white printed photo and showed a Red Cross dog locating a wounded French soldier on the battlefield.
Another French card of an ambulance-dog is shown below. It is an unsigned artist's impression of a patriotic dog who had found his own way to express his contempt for the enemy.
french war dog
A patriotic French ambulance‑dog expressing his dislike for the German Army. The card carried a message from Jerry to Meg. "Just a pc hoping it finds you all well. I am still in billets & don't expect to go back to the trenches for a while yet, as we have shifted further down the line."
Dogs were used to carry messages in battle too. The dog had to be loyal to two masters, one of whom
would turn the animal loose, which then moved silently to a second handler, who retrieved the message it was carrying. Some messenger dogs were fitted with a roll of telephone fire which it pulled - sometimes under fire - from one location to another.

It was not only official war‑dogs that went to the battle areas, front‑line troops sometimes took dogs into the trenches with them as pets. An historian said "Animals had a particular place as pets in a zone destitute of women and children and those situations in which a man might reassure himself of the gentler side of his nature." In a more practical way, some dogs such as hardy terriers were taken into the trenches to act as 'ratters'. A number of British and French picture postcards depicted soldiers with their 'trench-pets'. For example, there is one in 'The Daily Mirror Canadian Official Series', titled "Captured at Courcelette." The 'prisoner' was not a German soldier, but a small dog held 'captive' by a smiling Canadian officer.
soldier with dog
This card in 'The Daily Mirror CANADIAN OFFICIAL SERIES, was Published by the Pictorial Newspapers Co. Ltd., in its 'Photogravure Series'.
Another printed photo card, which was posted from Bulford Camp on 10th September 1917, was reproduced from a photograph taken by 'Le Section Photographique de L'Armee Francaise'. It was printed in England and 'Issued by NEWSPAPER ILLUSTRATIONS LTD.' The picture reveals the interior of a French front‑line dug out and is captioned 'the soldier's sleeping quarters'. In the middle foreground of the picture a bad-tempered looking white terrier looks menacingly into the camera.
Rin Tin Tin
A dog found in a German trench at Metz later became famous. After the Germans abandoned the trench it was taken over by American soldiers and an officer found the dog. When the war ended he took the animal back to America with him. During the next 14 years the dog worked hard in its chosen career and earned the title "The Most Famous Dog in the World." His name was Rin‑Tin‑Tin.

Trench Dogs as "Ratters."

During the Great War, troops in the front line had to endure many discomforts besides the danger of shell-fire and the sniper’s bullet. In the trenches, vermin were a constant irritation. The soldiers’ loathing of lice was only second to his hatred of rats. Surrounded by discarded scraps of food and corpses, the rat population increased with amazing speed. Men spoke of trenches and dug-outs which were plagued with "rats as big as cats". In the interests of health, regular 'rat hunts’ became an essential past-time for troops. The one depicted on the postcard below took place in 1915, in and around the flour-mill in the village of Meaulte. The hero of the day was the Dog - who chased the rats out of hiding and into the path of the waiting soldiers.
the ratters
After the rat-hunt the mill-owner produced a camera and placing his dog and children in front of the ‘ratters’ and their ‘kill’, he took a souvenir photograph of the scene. The resulting picture was made into postcards and distributed among the group. At least three of the postcards are known to have survived and one of them is shown above. Written in pencil on the back of it are the words, ‘Meaulte 1915’. The total kill that day was 97 rats. On the left of the picture a member of the Royal Army Medical Corps is looking pleased with the result. The dog looks rather pleased too.
three ww1 terriers
Three real photographic postcards all depicting soldiers with their Terriers. The cap badge of the soldier on the card on the left was that of the Prince of Wales Own (West Yorkshire Regiment). On his right arm a crown above three stripes indicated Sergeant-Major. Four chevrons on his lower right sleeve indicate this soldier served overseas in 1915, 1916, 1917 and 1918. The soldiers Jack Russell sits obediently on his knee. The card was produced in late 1918 or early post-war. Someone wrote on the back of the card on the right - this. "Bombardier R.S. Hart R.G.A. Gassed on June 5 and partially buried by enemy shell on May 1st 1917. Return photo to:- Mrs Smith, Thames Avenue, Cav. Road, Rdg." Another Jack Russell poses for the camera.

Dogs as Unit Mascots

Dogs were often used as mascots in military units. The dog might be an officer's dog, an animal that the unit chose to adopt, or one of their canines employed in another role as a working dog. Some units also chose to employ a particular breed of dog as their standard mascot.
dispatch riders and their mascot dog
A group of dispatch riders and their officers pose for the camera with what was perhaps the unit mascot. The dog appears to be a Boxer. This breed along with the Bull Dog was often featured on colourful artist-drawn patriotic postcards - chasing Kaiser Bill or up to some other mischief. The presence of a mascot was designed to uplift morale and many were used to this effect in the trenches of World War I.
six ww1 cards featuring unit mascots
A set of six cards showing unit mascots. The first two animals featured are dogs and the remainder are obviously not. The popular firm of "Raphael Tuck & Sons" produced these "OILETTE" cards and named the set of six - quite reasonably - "REGIMENTAL MASCOTS." The artist was Norah Drummond.

Edith Cavell and her Dogs

Today, Edith Cavell is probably the best known female from the Great War. Born in 1865, she was the daughter of a Norfolk clergyman and in 1895 entered the London Hospital as a probationer and afterwards nursed in England for several years. In 1907, Edith was appointed Matron of the Berkendael Medical Institute in Brussels which she transformed into a teaching hospital of some excellence.
After the outbreak of war in 1914, the hospital came under the auspices of the Red Cross. Cavell and her staff aided the sick and wounded - but also gave sanctuary to escaping Allied soldiers.  In August 1915, she was arrested by the Germans for "harbouring aliens and helping them to escape". In due course she was sentenced to death and despite efforts to save her by neutral diplomats, at dawn on 12th October 1915 - she was shot by a firing squad. After her execution many picture postcards appeared commemorating her death and one of the most famous and popular images was that of Edith and her two dogs. 
Edith Cavell and her two dogs
Photograph of Edith Cavell

This satin-finish card was sold for the benefit of the "Daily Mirror Nurse Cavell Memorial Fund". It became a well-known photograph and is thought to have been taken in Brussels in 1910. The words below the picture, are those she spoke to the prison chaplain on the morning of her execution.

In 1910, Edith had adopted a stray dog and called it jack. Her biographer commented: "Fiercely protective of her, [Jack] was always with her and barked and snapped at any one who came too near." With jack at her side Edith felt safe as she walked “the twisting streets of Brussels, visiting sick patients at any time.” Later, Edith and Jack were joined by another stray - Don. However, in 1911 Don disappeared amid a rumour that he had been stolen - but not before the famous photograph had been taken. After Edith's execution in 1915, Jack was looked after by Countess de Croy until he died in 1923. He was stuffed and mounted and can now be found in the Imperial War Museum.

"Railway Jacks"

Before the war, dogs had been used to entertain and collect money for worthy causes. A small collecting tin or box was strapped to the dog and a donation would see the giver rewarded with a picture postcard or perhaps a lapel flag. One dog became famous for this type of work. His name was London Jack. The dog raised several hundred pounds for the London and South West Railway Servants' Orphanage by patrolling railway platforms in the capitol. When war came, the "Railway Jacks" and "Railway Jennies" as they became known, were a popular sight on railway stations throughout the country and some were themselves featured on picture postcards. One such example is shown below.
Railway jacks ww1
Two Railway Jacks or Jennies - or even one of each - wait for customers on Newcastle Central Railway Station. As the caption states they had already had some success with raising funds for war charities. This time they could have been collecting donations for St Dunstans Hostel  for blinded soldiers and sailors in Regents Park. The dogs are Curly Coat Retrievers.

Mrs Banks and Dik

As the war progressed, many private individuals continued to ‘do their bit’ for good causes. In the summer of 1915, Elizabeth Banks, an author, moved by the hapless plight of Belgium refugee children, started her own appeal fund for them. She produced a booklet, which described the exploits of Dik - A Dog of Belgium in the war zone.

Illustrations were by Herbert Dicksee and several postcards were issued showing drawings of the Red Cross dog and describing the things he got up too. The offices of Canada's Grand Trunk Railway System at 19 Cockspur Steet, London, S.W. were put at the disposal of Mrs. Banks to display and sell her products which in addition to the booklet (which cost one penny) and postcards (at four a penny) included 'diamond-shaped seal stamps' for sticking on the back of envelopes, at 3d. a dozen.

Two other booklets available at Cockspur Street were about a bull-dog named "Sergeant Major of Canada" and a poodle name "Captain Jinks of French and Russian decent." Their stories were sold to raise funds for British, French, Russian and Serbian wounded. They "also help the War Dogs and the British and Italian War Horses," said the author.   Patrons included Her Grace the Duchess of Newcastle, and Mr. Alfred Lemonnier, the Editor of Independence Belge.


FDik a belgian dog

Left DIK : A Dog of Belgium was a Red Cross war dog in the service of the Belgian Army. He had been wounded on several occasions but continued to "search for the wounded on the battle-field and carry to them medicine and food" and had "learned the difference between the Germans and the Belgians, and of something queer about my mother." [Oh dear.] The postcard was mailed from Tunbridge Wells on 13th May 1915.

The British Bull-dog at war

Images of patriotic dogs played an important part in the British postcard propaganda war directed against Germany. Britain was often portrayed by artists as a Bull-dog and Germany as a Dash-hound. (Known also as a Sausage-Dog because of its shape and the perceived German taste for sausages.) On anti-German postcards the British Bull-dog was frequently seen chasing the sausage-dog or standing with it firmly held within its mouth. An example is shown below.
ww1 bulldog
"GOT HIM!" said the caption on this early anti-German postcard. The artist did not leave his signature on the card, but we know it was from the "Valentine's Series." The back of the card reveals that it was sent from an address in Wiltshire to the British Red Cross base in Boulogne on 4th January 1915. It was stamped with a French civil post office receiving stamp and also a receiving stamp from the British Red Cross in France. It was posted on the 4th of January and arrived on the 6th.
British postcard artists and publishers were quick to choose "Kaiser Bill" as their target for satire and caricature during the war and numerous cards lampooning him and his son "Little Willie" were on sale in the postcard racks within days of the commencement of hostilities.

Postcard artists imagination often ran riot when designing humorous anti-German cards and according to some of them, a favorite pastime of the British bull-dog - was chasing Kaiser Bill.

ww1 postcard Kaiser and British Bull-dog
Kaiser and Bulldog
The card on the left was produced by Bamforth's and was from a set of over 80 cards – printed in black on a light background – in their anti-Kaiser "War Cartoons" series. The artist did not sign the illustrations, which were dramatic and showed sharp political humour. The card above  "IF I ONCE GET HOLD-" was published by the Inter-Art Company in its "Patriotic Series" and sent to "Private G.S. Childs, B Company,7th Batt, Royal Dublin Fusiliers, Gough barracks, Currah Camp,"

ww1 bulldog cards
Three more British bull-dog cards from the long set of anti-German "War Cartoons" illustrated by Doug Tempest.
The iconic British Bull-dog appeared on numerous artist-drawn postcards and was often shown standing or sitting at the side of an equally British patriotic symbol - John Bull. In addition, it often appeared as a symbol defining the strength of the Royal Navy. On other cards it would be calling the 'pups' of the Empire to its side. Examples are shown below.
bull dogs and john bull
These cards and others like them were designed to show that Britain had the backing of its empire in the war effort and also
an all powerful navy - which would defeat Germany. This type of artist-drawn postcard was probably a powerful morale booster to anyone who saw it.

Dogs for Blinded Soldiers

A postcard issued by a war-time charity poses a question. Were soldiers who lost their sight in battle provided with a guide dog after they were repatriated to Britain? The answer seems to be - apparently not.
PALS St Dustans postcard
For several reasons, the wide-spread use of guide dogs for blinded ex‑servicemen was started as late as 1930. One reason for this seems to have been the pre‑war association of the blind‑man's dog with that of the street beggar.

In 1916, the National Institute for the Blind together with St Dunstan's issued a card which depicted a battle‑blinded soldier dressed in 'hospital blues'. In his right hand he held a cane, while his left arm was tightly gripped around a collie at his side.

The picture on the postcard on the left was from a painting by George Soper and titled "PALS". It was released as part of a set by St Dunstan's Hostel for Blinded Soldiers and Sailors - in 1916 and seems to have hinted at providing guide-dogs for blinded soldiers.

Blighty Leave

During the conflict, newspapers and magazines carried advertisements offering postcards for sale that featured animals involved in war-work. For instance, on 22nd August 1917 The Illustrated London News (ILN) carried a full‑page spread for the Delta Fine Art Company. On offer were six pictorial postcards reproduced in photogravure and said to show "striking incidents of the war." They were priced at sixpence a set and produced from drawings by five artists. Two of the cards were illustrated in the INL and one of them was indeed 'striking'. It showed a group of eleven anxious‑looking dogs, amidst a scene of utter desolation. The caption said, "Lost in Flanders ‑ waiting for the master who may never return."
Good Bye e e e e ww1 postcard
On this card Donald McGill highlighted the problem facing soldiers who had to leave their dogs behind when going on 'Blighty' leave.

The card was released by the Inter-Art Company and was number 2465 in its "COMIQUE" Series.

 It was sent from Southampton to Thornton Heath on 26th August 1918. The caption on the card was also the title of a popular war-time song.
Understandably, some British soldiers were unable to find their dogs again when they returned from 'Blighty leave'. In fact, at one stage of the war on the Western Front there were so many dogs running around without an apparent owner, that the British Army issued an order for all 'strays' to be shot. The RSPCA responded by opening temporary kennels in Boulogne, where a soldier could leave his dog until he returned to France.

After the War

Is it to be goodbye old pal ww1 postcard
On this postcard the war is over and as the soldier waits  on the dockside for the boat back to England he asks his dog "Is it to be good bye, old Pal?"  Well, maybe not!

After the war the RSPCA came to the rescue of Blighty-bound soldiers and offered to assist any who wanted to take their pets and mascots home. The fee for quarantine and other expenses was about £14 for each dog. The soldier was asked to pay £2 towards the cost, the Society paid the remainder.

This card was not postally used. On the back of it was a printed appeal from the "BLUE CROSS FUND" at the "Dog Quarantine Kennels, Charlton Kennels Shooters Hill".
All "DONATIONS GRATEFULLY ACCEPTED" it said. The artist signed the card.
My thanks to the staff of Beechwood Veterinary Group, Chapel Allerton, Leeds, for their help in identifying the breed of the dogs on this page.
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