In the lead up to Remembrance Sunday, many of us are wearing red poppies to show our respect for the members of the military who lost their lives in war. This year, however, you may have noticed that a few people have been sporting purple poppies too. But what exactly do they stand for?
— Ribbon of Poppies (@RibbonofPoppies) November 4, 2018
Well, we were touched to find out that the purple poppies are a special commemoration to the animals that were injured and lost their lives in conflict. As reported by the Animals in War Memorial Fund, eight million horses died in the First World War as they were used to used to transport ammunition and supplies to the front line.
Similarly, dogs were relied upon for a number of duties throughout the war including everything from running messages, laying telegraph wires and detecting mines, to digging out bomb victims and acting as guard or patrol dogs. More than 100,000 pigeons also served Britain in the First World War and 200,000 served in World War II.
According to the website, the pigeons ‘performed heroically and saved thousands of lives by carrying vital messages, sometimes over long distances, when other methods of communication were impossible. Flying at the rate of a mile a minute from the front line, from behind enemy lines or from ships or aeroplanes, these gallant birds would struggle on through all weathers, even when severely wounded and exhausted, in order to carry their vital messages home.’
Other animals that contributed to the war included elephants, camels, oxen, bullocks, cats, canaries and glow worms (yes, really).
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts 💜 Our purple poppies have completely sold out 💜 Over 2,000 orders processed, over 5,000 people and furry friends wearing theirs to pay tribute to the animals who gave their all, and continue to give 💜Your support has been the best 💜 🐾 pic.twitter.com/WHrFv4dVfX
— Purple Poppy (@MA_PurplePoppy) October 28, 2018
To honour the many animals who lost their lives during the conflict, pet charity Murphy’s Army is encouraging members of the public to wear purple poppies, launching their first campaign in 2016.
This year, the purple poppies have been such a huge hit that they have already sold out. Announcing the good news via their twitter account, the charity wrote: ‘Thank you from the bottom of our hearts 💜 Our purple poppies have completely sold out 💜 Over 2,000 orders processed, over 5,000 people and furry friends wearing theirs to pay tribute to the animals who gave their all, and continue to give 💜Your support has been the best 💜 🐾’