The war animals’ friend

Here’s an awesome post from fellow blogger Ghosts of 1914, about Dr. Doolittle and the trenches where he was invented, by Hugh Lofting, who served with the Irish Guards as a veterinary officer.


Hugh Lofting with his jackdaws (crows), goose, dog, and wolf cub.

The Irish Guards had a terrible war, from the first days near Mons to the Armistice, when they were also near Mons. Nearly half the officers and more than a quarter of the men were killed.

Here are details about the Irish Guards in WWI:

Another literary family contributed a son to the Irish Guards: John Kipling, son of Rudyard Kipling. The younger Kipling was declared missing, presumed killed at Loos in 1915. He was 18. Daniel Radclifffe (Harry Potter) played him in the made-for-TV movie “My Boy Jack.”


Rudyard Kipling and his son, 2nd Lt. John Kipling.

Rudyard Kipling wrote a poem after the war that ended with the famous line

“If any question why we died/ Tell them, because our fathers lied.”

4 thoughts on “The war animals’ friend

  1. The current link doesn’t lead to the article, but I’m sure that’s fixable — the piece from the Ghosts of 1914 is fantastic.


  2. Hi there, it’s “Ghosts of 1914.” Thank you so much for this mention. I wanted to point out a tiny issue–the photo I found of the WWI veterinarian is not of Hugh Lofting as you caption it here–it’s just someone who made me think of the author and his books. Lofting served as an engineer with the Irish Guards, I’m pretty sure, and didn’t have too much to do with animals on the front. I think the creatures he dreamed up while at war were figments of his wish for a more innocent world to share with his young children.

    Thanks again for reading!


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