A statue has been erected at Brook Gate in Park Lane to honour the animals that have served and died with British and Allied forces.
Unveiled by Princess Anne the memorial sculpture consists of two mules a horse and a dog, and whilst recognising all animals that have fought in war, it pays special tribute to 60 that got the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross.
The accomplishments of these animals reads like a pitch meeting at Disney for their next animated feature, as they include "Rob, a para-dog who made more than 20 parachute drops while serving with the SAS on top-secret missions in Africa and Italy" and "Mary of Exeter, a pigeon, which flew back with her neck and right breast ripped open, savaged by hawks kept by the Germans at Calais"
We can hear it now:
- "It's like Watership Down meets Guns of Navarone, Meg Ryan voices a plucky under-dog pigeon entrusted with flying an enigma code breaking machine back to the States, but she gets attacked by Nazi hawks, Sam an eagle, voiced by Will Smith comes to her rescue, gets the code machine back to the President so Mel Gibsons platoon of attack dogs can storm Hitlers secret bunker, and end the war."
"Doesn't an enigma machine weigh about 100 times more than a pigeon and didn't the British capture it?"
- "Where the hell are you from Working Title? Get out of my office!">
Londonist would also like to point out that it's not only war that has claimed the lives of many brave animals but space exploration is also built on the corpses of many fearless primates.
"The very first primates ever fired to an altitude near space were the monkeys Albert 1 and Albert 2. They died in 1949 in the nose cones of captured German V-2 rockets during U.S. launch tests."
Also in the area of science animals have made many great contributions, with one of the most famous being Pavlov's Dog in the formulation of the theory of conditoned reflexes.
Not a lot is known about what eventually happened to the dog, but legend has it that after Pavlov rang the bell without feeding him one too many times, and then added insult injury by pulling the old "pretending to throw a stick" routine, the dog went for his throat and had to be put down.