The Visitor Services and Education teams at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra have put together some initiatives  on 24 February to mark the Animals in War Day:

1.       Guided family tours through the galleries at 10.30am and 11.30am will explore the role of animals during wartime.  A basic children’s trail map around the grounds prepared by the Education team including animal themed sculptures and info for visitors will be provided following the tour

2.       All Voluntary Guide general tours will include an awareness message at the beginning of the tour and any animals along their scheduled route

3.       We will run a social media program highlighting stories of Animals in War

4.       We will have a display instore with all the Animals in War products including plush toys, publications and the purple poppy merchandise range. This will be setup from Friday 22nd February

5.       We will offer a promotion of a free purple poppy silk pin with any “animals in war” publication

6.       Acknowledgement of the day will be included in the preamble to the Last Post Ceremony

7.       All staff and volunteers will wear purple poppies on the day to raise awareness





In 2017 AWAMO created the first overseas Australian memorial to animals at war at Pozières, France.   As part of the memorial event, a troop horse paraded wearing a blanket made of purple poppies to symbolise the sacrifice of animals at war.    Many people from around Australia knitted or crocheted the poppies for the blanket.  The Cathay Community Association in Queensland was one group who made poppies.  In last year’s Annual Report of the Association, they included this article on the AWAMO purple poppy blanket.

The Armistice Centenary – 62,000 Hand Crafted Red Poppies

Please click on the below link to see a video created by the Military Shop to help promote the display of 62,000 handcrafted red poppies on the Memorial Grounds and the centrepiece of commemorations, symbolically representing Australian lives lost in the First World War. This video reached over 180,000 people with around 100,000 views, over 5,000 likes, 208 comments and 2,284 shares!


Over eight years ago AWAMO began donating care packages to operational
Military Working Dogs (MWD) in East Timor, the Solomon’s and Afghanistan.
These contained a few comforts from home, for the handler and dog.
A new ball, chew toys, food treats and in 2005 we sent each dog a winter coat in Afghanistan.
In 2017 AWAMO began a care package for domestic veteran MWD- whose owners could not afford some
comforts for their dog. Alas it’s a fact a number of veterans are on the poverty line but still have a canine
companion and mate.

These parcels contain a new lead, food bowl, worming and flea medication, dog shampoo,
teeth cleaning chew toy and some treats for the dog- finally a donated handmade blanket or dog coat.
AWAMO acknowledges Redlands RSL in QLD for administrating the issue of these packages to veterans.
With Xmas approaching AWAMO in cooperation with your organisation could make a difference
to veteran dogs and their families by saying:

“Thanks for your Service” – via a gift box at Christmas.

It will contain many of the items listed above plus a personal message you would like to deliver.
It may be impossible to return a thank you but every effort will be made to photograph recipients.
This is just one area you can help and say thank you.
AWAMO runs several projects to assist Veteran dogs and Animal projects that assist our human Veterans.

These can be viewed on our web page –
Any donations remaining after Xmas will be used for one of these assistance projects.

Blue Cross Awards – Remembering the Animals from WW1

It wasn’t just men and boys who answered Britain’s call to join the armed forces in her hour of need.

Hundreds of thousands of animals left behind their peaceful, rural homes and made the journey across the English Channel to join their human comrades in the trenches.

Two years before the outbreak of what would become known as the First World War, the Blue Cross Fund had provided vital veterinary care to animals during the Balkan War. At that time, our charity was called Our Dumb Friends League (ODFL) and we named the fund after the flags displaying blue crosses that flew above animal hospitals and ambulances to distinguish help for animal casualties from The Red Cross, which provided aid to wounded soldiers.

In 1914, we knew our help would be needed once more.

Horses were an essential part of cavalry warfare and soon became needed to haul colossal artillery pieces, ammunitions wagons, machine guns, ration carts and other vital supplies.

“This act of courage shows how deep the bond was between my grandfather and his horses. Just three men survived the shelling that day but, despite great danger to himself, he refused to leave his horse to die a painful, lonely death” Ruth Turner, granddaughter of George Turner, who used his Blue Cross handbook to help look after horses on the battlefields

Dogs too were vital on the battlefields as they were used to run messages, detect mines, and act as patrol dogs, among many other tasks.

Perhaps slightly less known is the number of pigeons that served, who risked their lives by carrying vital messages over long distances.

For more information on this article – go to





AWAMO Pozières 1st Anniversary


Update from recent visit to AWAMO memorial, Pozières France

Lyn and myself along with brother Bob and wife Laurie  went to the memorial today and had a little quiet time. We layed a few wreaths that I had saved from the inauguration last year. One was from RSPCA Qld, one from Redland Bay State school (Calen my grandson) and the other the one that Lyn and her daughter Samantha made. (Pictures above).

Bob and I have started work on the bricks around the bench seats and should finish Tuesday.

Bit busy here at the moment with the Sound and Light show up at the Mairie. On Monday the 23rd the Commune is hosting a wreath laying ceremony at Gibraltar opposite the Australian 1st Division Memorial. (Nothing at the Memorial Park)