Indian Army pays homage to animals’ wartime sacrifices


LT GEN. Basant Kumar Repswal
Lt-General Basant Kumar Repswal, Commandant ASC Centre and College placed a wreath at the Animal War Memorial at the ASC Centre and College. Credit: Indian Army

The Army, on Saturday, paid homage to the sacrifices made by animals and animal handlers in wartime on the occasion of the Animal Transport Remembrance Day.

Lt-General Basant Kumar Repswal, Commandant, ASC Centre and College, placed a wreath at the Animal War Memorial at the ASC Centre and College. This was followed by a military guard of honour. As the bugles sounded the last post, a two-minute silence was observed.

The memorial, which was erected in 2006, commemorates the role played by the mules and horses of the Indian Army.

In a statement, the Army said that the memorial gives details of 637 gallantry awards won by the brave muleteers, 49 battle casualties and 14 gallantry awards given to mules since independence.

In addition, five military recognitions were bestowed by the Chief of the Army Staff and other Army Commanders on animal transport units.

“The Animal Transport (AT) units have been relied upon heavily to fill an important niche in the logistics networks of the Indian Army,” the army said.

Every year, September 26 is commemorated as the “AT Remembrance Day.

It was on September 26, 1914, that the 9th Mule Corps, as part of the Indian Expeditionary Force, landed at Marseille in France, to support the allied armies in World War One.

145 such AT units served during the war in France, Belgium, Egypt, Gallipoli, Palestine and the Sinai.