“A Tribute to WWI Military Dogs” by Robyn Youl

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11/11/19-18   >  11.11.2018


A Tribute to WWI Military  Dogs


His Master’s Voice has gone

Dogs do not understand goodbye

He watches waits and grieves

Why do the women cry?


A War Dog has a focus

Love dictates the choice

The wailing shells surround him.

His world, His Master’s Voice


He did not care to understand

Why humans kill or play

Be it German, French or English

His Master’s Voice his day


Evading deadly Allied Bullets

On German Voice command

A precious load strapped to his back

He skims the mire of No Man’s Land


Blueruns with army orders now

There are no sheep or cattle

Blueonly hears His Anzac’s Voice

Above the roar of battle


A Red Cross Dog saves lives

Aiding those who still draw breath

The Stretcher Bearer’s Voice

Braves the screaming stench of death


Flanders fields are still blood red

Killing is still glorified

Men and dogs are still at war

Will we ever turn the tide?

Robyn Youl



Both sides trained Military Dogs.

World War I dogs were used to carry messages, first aid kits and transmission wiring. Some dogs were army mascots.

Small dogs were also useful in the trenches to kill the hordes of rats that swarmed  in the filth and squalor. Removing sick and dead men from the trenches was difficult. They were high, narrow and usually had stagnant water lying in them. Rats thrived.

The rule was Keep your Head DOWN!!! Sharp shooters on the other side of No Man’s Land were just waiting to put a bullet into any head that poked up.

No Man’s Land was the distance between enemy trenches. It was covered on barbed wire. After the troops had come out of the trenches to Charge the Enemy, No Man’s Land was the place of the dead, the injured and the dying.

The sound of shelling, machine gun and rifle fire began at daylight and did not finish until it was too dark to see.

At night the stretcher-bearers were busy taking the wounded to safety. Other soldiers were collecting Dog Tags or Identity Discs from the dead. These were used to change the records to Killed in Action and send a telegram and letter to the next of kin.


The Australian Armed Forces still train war dogs. If you love dogs you might like to find out more about them.


Horrie the War Dog  by Roland Perry is an interesting yarn about a dog who worked with the Austrailan Army in Egypt.


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