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Nov 29 2013

A War Memorial with a Difference

November is the month of remembrance so, just before it comes to an end, I thought I would use the last Friday to share something with you – a war memorial with a difference.

During a recent stay in Kilburn, I came across this rather unassuming building that I could have easily walked past.  But, one rainy day before I left, it caught my eye.  I’m not quite sure why but I walked across the road to take a closer look. When I did, I realised it was actually quite special.  Why?  Because it’s a war memorial for animals who died during the First World War.


The Animal War Memorial Dispensary

All sorts of animals – horses, mules, donkeys, dogs, pigeons, camels, elephants, oxen, bullocks, cats, canaries, and glow worms – had different roles to assist in the war effort, depending on their innate qualities and abilities.  A few of the roles were transporting ammunition to the front line, detecting mines, and carrying messages.  They often worked in horrendous conditions but did what they were sent to do.

This might not be the most spectacular animal war memorial but it remembers all the animals who suffered or died from enemy action, disease, or accident during that time.  It also remembers the important role that the RSPCA and its volunteers had during World War I.

At the beginning of November, as part of the annual Remembrance Day events across London, there is a wreath laying ceremony and service at this memorial.  It’s wonderful to know that the animals, as well as the humans who suffered or died during the war, are remembered.

I will leave you with what is written on one of the two plaques that are located at either side of the front door…

May we all remember them with gratitude and in the future commemorate their suffering and death by showing kindness and consideration to living animals.


If you happen to find yourself in Kilburn, this is where the RSPCA Animal War Memorial Dispensary is located:

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Have you seen this or any other animal war memorial?

About the author

Teresa Keane

Teresa has been to almost 60 countries. She started travelling independently at the age of 38 when she gave up her job, rented out her house, put her possessions in storage and spent a year travelling the world. It changed her life. She now creates, publishes, & promotes online travel content and is an experienced freelance trainer & EFL teacher.

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