The Purple Poppy campaign is about honouring the lives of animals who were lost in service. The campaign runs alongside Remembrance Day on 11th November, and is there to raise awareness of the thousands of animal lives that were lost due to war and conflict. This may not be something you have thought about before, so we urge you this year, whilst you take part in the two-minute silence, to think about these animal lives as well as the human lives that were lost.
Murphy’s Army Purple Poppy Campaign
The Murphy’s Army Purple Poppy Campaign was launched in 2016 to encourage members of the public to pay tribute to the many animals lives that were lost during service, and to those who still serve us today.
“Our research had shown that although the traditional red poppy was well known, the significance of the purple poppy – to remember the animals – was less so. We believe our efforts over the years have raised significant awareness of the meaning of the purple poppy and many more are now being worn with pride.” – Murphy’s Army
How were animals used in service?
According to the Imperial War Museum, over 16 million animals served in WW1 alone. They were used for transport, communication and surprisingly, companionship.
In 1914, both sides had large cavalry forces and animals remained a crucial part of the war effort. Horses, donkeys, mules and camels carried food, water, ammunition and medical supplies to men at the front, and dogs and pigeons carried messages. Canaries were also used to detect poisonous gas, and cats and dogs were trained to hunt rats in the trenches.
Dogs, cats, and even more exotic animals such as monkeys, bears and lions, were kept as pets and mascots to raise morale and provide comfort to the men on the frontline.