The war animals’ friend, CORRECTED

Ghosts of 1914 points out that I made a couple of mistakes when I wrote about her post “Dr. Dolittle Goes to War”:

The photo of the man in the pith helmet with all his animals is NOT Hugh Lofting, author of the Dr. Dolittle series. Lofting was a combat engineer with the Irish Guards, NOT a veterinarian.

I did wonder how a civil engineer got himself from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to a kennel on the Western Front, but I didn’t wonder enough. War is absurd; anything can happen.

Thanks for correcting me, Fiona.

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. Lofting served on the Front in 1917-18, when he was badly wounded.

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

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


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