Paddy, a gassed case
Image by National Library of Scotland
Bandaged dog that worked in the front line trenches, in France, during World War I. With bandages on all four paws, this dog – called ‘Paddy’ – carried out a range of hazardous duties in a front line trench, despite the shellfire and poison gas. Dogs and cats were used in the trenches to kill rats and mice, thereby protecting food supplies. In addition to carrying out duties such as this, having a regimental mascot in the trench also helped to maintain the troops morale.
Most of the armies involved in ‘the war to end all wars’ had specially trained dogs in many of their regiments. These dogs performed a wide range of important tasks, including carrying messages, sentry duty, acting as decoys, ambulance duties and killing vermin. Keeping a pet also helped to raise the morale of the soldiers, by adding a touch of domestic home life to the trenches.
[Original reads: ‘OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT IN FRANCE. "Paddy", a gassed case. He worked to and fro in an area covered with shell holes and gas.’]