Page 28 - Chiron Calling Spring 2021
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                    In South Australia war animals were remembered at the West Croydon RSL by Rex Harris Grandson of Diggers the war dog handler from WWI who was the recipient of the 2019 Blue Cross Award.
about the day to their existing exhibit on war animals which includes a duplicate war animal memorial sign from Pozieres, France and a statue of Digger a WWI dog that fought at Pozieres. The President and RSL Headquarters team also placed several wreaths
on the day at the RSLs War animal memorial.
At the Bounty Boulevard State School in Queensland - members
of the Australian Army Veterinary Corps Ceremonial Troop on behalf of AWAMO, opened a new war animal plaque at the school. The school has many students that are dependants of military personal. The plaque is within a garden dedicated to the defence force.
The garden has several metal silhouttes of defence force members including a miliitary dog handler, many of the flowers within the garden are purple to honour the animals.
In a moving ceremony in the town of Ararat in Victoria a new memorial unveiled on the 24th February in Ararat’s Soldiers Memorial Park. The metal statue, of a WWI horse was unveiled to recognise the service and sacrifice made by Australian war horses.
The monument is still awaiting to be named via a school competition.
It is dedicated to Poppy the UK War Horse and all the Commonwealth and Allied war horses who were present during WWI. Australia’s horse is one of several intended to be located across the world.
Currently there are two others, the New Zealand memorial called Tom is in Christchurch, which itself, is a replica of Arthur who is on the wall of the Plough Inn, Little London in Hampshire.
The Australian war animal memorial organization donated funds for the construction of the silhouette and donated the bronze plaque. President of AWAMO
Nigel Allsopp has been assisting
in finance and advice with the proposed Indian, South African and Canadian projects which hopefully will see these countries duplicate the same memorial.
There was a rush to get the memorial done in time for purple poppy day, when finished the horse will be attached to a small plinth with a flower garden and night lighting.
On the 24th February 2021 the third New Zealand animal to ever be awarded the United Kingdom’s Blue Cross Award took place at the National Army Museum (NAM), Waiouru.
Gunners Story: Kiwi troops in Afghanistan have been bowled over in more ways than one by a handsome dog who has become a
mascot, and also a guard and a pet at one of their patrol bases.
Gunner has won the hearts of soldiers operating out of Nayak, about four hours’ drive west of the main Kiwi base in Bamian. Gunner was a great guard dog, who would kick up a fuss if anybody came around the base and would snap at the ankles of strangers.
But he was also a real character. He gets so excited to have you around that it makes going back
to the base a pleasure. A soldier quoted: Whenever we had been away from the patrol base for a few days, upon our return he would
be like a child seeing his dad returning home. Exact details are still unclear however, Gunner was killed soon after the NZ Troops
left Afghanistan. Alas like so many other countries, New Zealand did not permit this loyal mascot to come home.
The National Army Museum held New Zealand’s first Blue Cross Award in 2019 for a WWI trained
as a Red Cross assistant dog called Ceasar. His name was misspelt originally, and so it remains: Ceasar, not Caesar.
Due to Covid-19 Blue Cross representative for New Zealand Nigel Allsopp could not attend from Australia, Nigel’s friend retired RNZAF Police Warrant Officer Colin Waite OBE delivered the award to Lt Col Syd Dewes NZ Army, who had a strong bond with Gunner in Afghanistan.
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The Mayor of Ararat o Armstrong and RSL President Frank Neulist

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