Messenger dog base just behind the line
Image by National Library of Scotland
Messenger dogs on parade outside their kennels, in France, during World War I. Messenger dogs and their handlers stand beside some kennels close to the front line. Rolled up messages placed inside waterproof containers would have been attached to the collars of these dogs, as they moved between units in the front line trenches. Adopting a pet as regimental mascot also helped to maintain the morale of the soldiers, by adding a touch of domestic home life to the trench where the dog was stationed.
It was the famous Battersea Dogs' Home in London that provided the army with recruits for its unit of messenger dogs. Following their recruitment, the dogs were then trained at The War Dog Training School in Shoeburyness, England. Once their training was finished, the dogs were stationed in kennels in Etaples, France, before being posted to regiments for front line service.
[Original reads: ‘OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT IN FRANCE. A messenger dog base just behind the line.']