Animal charities pay tribute to animals who served in First World War

Britain remembers: Animal charities pay tribute to eight million horses, donkeys and mules who served in WWI and bankers fall silent while a cascade of poppies begins to cover the UK ahead of Armistice centenary

  • Staff line the atrium of Lloyd’s of London today as poppies fall from the ceiling in moving display
  • Stunning display of thousands of hand knitted poppies pictured at Selby Abbey in North Yorkshire 
  • Animals in War Memorial service in London pays tribute to horses and dogs during First World War
  • Country prepares to mark 100th anniversary of the end of WWI this weekend with various events
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Deeply moving remembrance events took place across Britain today as the nation prepared to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.

Staff lined the atrium of Lloyd’s of London as poppies fell from the ceiling, while a stunning display of thousands of hand knitted poppies at Selby Abbey in North Yorkshire flowed from the tower and into to the grounds.

Members of the Armed Forces took part in the official opening of the Field of Remembrance at Royal Wootton Bassett – one of six such fields across the UK, with the other five in London, Belfast, Gateshead, Staffordshire.

Meanwhile the eight million horses, donkeys and mules who died on all sides during the First World War were today remembered at the Animals in War Memorial on the edge of Hyde Park in London this morning.


Three-year-old Scarlet looks at the thousands of hand knitted poppies outside Selby Abbey in North Yorkshire


The poppies are flowing from the tower of Selby Abbey to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War

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    The service, attended by representatives from several animal charities, also paid tribute to the thousands of dogs used to run messages, lay telegraph wires, detect mines, dig out bomb victims and act as patrol dogs.

    They were joined at the £2million memorial – which was opened by Princess Anne in 2004 – by three horses from the Household Cavalry, a donkey from the British Mule Society and dogs from the Irish Terrier Association.

    Brooke has spent the last year highlighting the struggle of working horses, donkeys and mules of past and present in its campaign Every Horse Remembered.

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    Its ambassador, British dressage rider Alice Oppenheimer, today laid a wreath with messages of sympathy and remembrance from the charity’s supporters.

    Eight million horses, donkeys and mules died during the war from both fierce shellfire and also the extreme conditions they had to endure.

    The animals were vital in transporting ammunition and supplies to the frontline, with many mules noted for their courageous service on the Western Front.


    Staff line the atrium as poppies fall during a Armistice commemoration service at Lloyd’s of London this morning


    Workers stand for a poppy drop during a Remembrance Service at the Lloyd’s building in the City of London this morning


    Poppies fall to the floor during the Remembrance Service held at the Lloyd’s building in the City of London today


    Workers take pictures on their phones as they stand for a poppy drop during the service at the Lloyd’s building today


    Members of the Armed Forces salute as workers stand for a two-minute silence during the service at the Lloyd’s building

    The thousands of dogs involved have been praised for battling on despite suffering injuries, showing courage and loyalty to their handlers.

    More than 300,000 pigeons served Britain in the First and Second World War by carrying vital messages over long distances in all weather conditions.

    Many other animals served throughout the years of the war, including elephants, camels, oxen, bullocks, cats, canaries and even glow worms.

    This weekend, millions of people will fall silent this weekend to mark 100 years since the end of the First World War. A series of events will take place up and down the nation for the centenary of the Armistice.

    The Queen and senior members of the royal family will attend the annual Festival of Remembrance at London’s Royal Albert Hall tomorrow night, which will commemorate all those who have lost their lives in conflicts.

    On Sunday, the Prince of Wales will once again lead the nation in honouring the country’s war dead during the national service of remembrance.


    Members of the Armed Forces take part in the official opening of the Field of Remembrance at Royal Wootton Bassett today


    Poppies in the Field of Remembrance at Royal Wootton Bassett in a walled garden in the grounds of Lydiard House and Park


    Members of the Armed Forces salute during the official opening of the Field of Remembrance at Royal Wootton Bassett today

    The Queen has asked Charles to lay a wreath at the Cenotaph in Whitehall on her behalf – the second successive year he will perform the duty.

    During the cenotaph event, the Queen will watch the service from the balcony of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office building, as she did last year.

    After Charles has laid a wreath on behalf of the Queen, other floral tributes will be left by members of the royal family, senior figures from the Government, including Prime Minister Theresa May, and opposition party leaders and other figures from national life.

    For the first time, a German leader will lay a wreath at the Cenotaph, with President Frank-Walter Steinmeier performing the duty on behalf of his nation in a historic act of reconciliation.

    After the service, 10,000 people, chosen by ballot, will have the opportunity to pay their respects to all those who served in the First World War by taking part in the Nation’s Thank You procession past the Cenotaph. 


    (From left) Freddie and Miss Darcy, cockapoos, take part in an Animals in War memorial event in London this morning


    Members of theHousehold Cavalry join a congregation of animals and representatives from animal charities in London


    (From left) Max, a spaniel cross and Peanuy, a terrier cross, take part in the Animals in War memorial event in London today


    Max, a spaniel cross, joins in as people pay their respects in London today to animals who have lost their lives in warfare


    Dressage rider Alice Oppenheimer, ambassador for horse charity Brooke, with its programmes director Nigel Wilson today

    During the day, church and other bells will ring out as they did at the end of the First World War – and a Westminster Abbey service will be held along with others in Glasgow, Cardiff and Belfast, to give thanks for peace and those who returned.

    In the evening the Queen, Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Duke and Duchess of Sussex will attend the Abbey service.

    Battle’s Over, a series of hundreds of local events to mark the centenary of the Armistice, will also take place on November 11.

    Pipers will play, beacons will be lit and church bells will ring in all corners of the UK and around the world as communities pay tribute to the First World War fallen.

    Described as a nation’s tribute, Battle’s Over has been in the planning for four years and will see hundreds of locally-organised events mark the centenary.

    The National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire will again be a focus of reflection, with up to 6,000 people expected to gather.

    How Britain will mark the centenary of the Armistice with concerts and memorials across the country

    A series of events will take place across the UK to mark 100 years since the end of the First World War. Here is a look at how some people will mark the centenary of the Armistice.

    Festival of Remembrance

    The Queen and senior members of the royal family will attend the annual Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance at London’s Royal Albert Hall on Saturday. This year’s festival will commemorate all those who have lost their lives in conflicts and will mark 100 years since the First World War ended. The event is an opportunity for the nation to say thanks to all who served, and to those who sacrificed their lives. The Queen will be joined by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

    National Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph

    The Prince of Wales will once again lead the nation in honouring the country’s war dead during the national service of remembrance. The Queen has asked Charles to lay a wreath at the Cenotaph in Whitehall on her behalf – the second successive year he will perform the duty. The Queen will watch from the balcony of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office building, as she did last year. After Charles has laid a wreath, other floral tributes will be left by members of the royal family, senior figures from the Government, including Prime Minister Theresa May, and opposition party leaders and other figures from national life. For the first time, a German leader will lay a wreath at the Cenotaph, with President Frank-Walter Steinmeier performing the duty on behalf of his nation in a historic act of reconciliation.

    A Nation’s Thank You

    Families whose ancestors died or were injured in the First World War will be remembering their relatives as they take part in a ‘people’s procession’. A total of 10,000 people, chosen by ballot, will have the opportunity to pay their respects to all those who served in the First World War by taking part in the Nation’s Thank You procession past the Cenotaph.

    Church services

    The Queen, Charles and Camilla, William and Kate, and Harry and Meghan will attend a service at Westminster Abbey. During the day, church and other bells will ring out as they did at the end of the First World War – and a Westminster Abbey service will be held along with others in Glasgow, Cardiff and Belfast, to give thanks for peace and those who returned. During the Welsh Guards’ Regimental Remembrance Sunday, Charles will attend a service in the Guards’ Chapel with service personnel and their families. He will then lay a wreath at the Guards’ Memorial.

    Pages of the Sea

    Director Danny Boyle is asking people to gather on beaches across the UK on November 11 and etch silhouettes in the sand ‘remembering the millions of lives lost or changed forever by the conflict’. Events will take place at low tide at a number of beaches, including Perranporth in Cornwall, Clacton-on-Sea in Essex, and St Ninian’s beach in Shetland.

    Battle’s Over

    Battle’s Over is a series of hundreds of local events to mark the centenary of the Armistice. Pipers will play, beacons will be lit and church bells will ring in all corners of the UK and around the world as communities pay tribute to the First World War fallen. Described as a nation’s tribute, Battle’s Over has been in the planning for four years and will see hundreds of locally-organised events mark the centenary.

    National Memorial Arboretum Service

    The National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire is the year-round centre for remembrance for service personnel. It is set in woodlands and gardens and features more than 350 memorials, including the main Armed Forces Memorial. Every year, there is an annual dedication of names ceremony at the forces monument, adding those who have fallen while on active service to its high walls – and a chance for visitors to reflect on the spaces yet to be filled by fresh engravings. The memorial will again be a focus of reflection, with up to 6,000 people expected to gather on Sunday.

    Armistice concert

    The anchor concert will take place at Edinburgh Napier University’s Craiglockhart Campus, the site of a former military hospital for shell-shocked officers during the Great War, and will include musical performances from George Watson’s College Symphony Orchestra and Scottish fiddlers.

    Remembrance in Enniskillen

    The County Fermanagh town will mark Armistice Day with a series of events starting at 6am at the castle, when 1,000 lone pipers will play When The Battle’s O’er, a traditional tune played after battle. The town on the western edge of Europe claims to have been the first in the UK to celebrate the Armistice. The news reportedly broke in Enniskillen before London, Edinburgh, Manchester or Dublin on November 11 1918, thanks to a local wireless operator. The message had been sent from Paris by the Armed Forces Commander in Chief, Marshal Ferdinand Foch, announcing the time for the cessation of hostilities.

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