This Saturday the Australian War Animal Organisation (AWAMO) will open a memorial for the Australian Army Veterinary Corps at the Light Horse Museum Mudgeeraba.
Founding director of the first Australian War Animal Organisation Nigel Allsopp says the event will be the first memorial in Australia to pay tribute to the Veterinary corps, which was disbanded in 1946.
“The Veterinary Corps that took care of the service animals have not been honoured. These vets looked after them and without them thousands more would have died,” Mr Allsop said.
“We also hope that this raises awareness of deeds of the service animals. These animals went to war and millions paid the ultimate sacrifice.”
Mr Allsop, who is also a Queensland Police Dog Handler, said he wanted the not for profit organisation to raise awareness amongst Australians of the bravery of animals like horses and dogs that have given their lives.
“Many people don’t realize our four legged diggers have made a contribution too,” he said.
“In fact you couldn’t have gone to war in World War I and World War II without use of animals of some description and it wasn’t until 1993 that animals were even brought back to Australian after war had ended.”
The Australian Defence Force does not pay for retired animals once they have finished serving, and AWAMO has recently taken over paying the cost of medication for a dog that was serving in Afghanistan.
“Our aim is to ensure the deeds of animals do not get lost,” he said.
Nigel was also responsible for establishing a Police Animal Service memorial for all horses and dogs that have served Queensland Police Service over the last 150 years and this was opened in December 2014.
Since it’s inception the AWAMO has accomplished many feats including establishing 15 memorials for war animals and a set of 5 War Dog coins that Mr Allsop designed for Australian Mint. They are available for purchase and the company agreed to donate some proceeds to war animal charities.
It has also been asked to conduct a mounted riding display of Light Horseman in Norco, California to celebrate Norco’s 50th anniversary in July and in October Australia Post will begin selling a series of 5 war animal stamps that Mr Allsop was asked to design.
Mr Allsop, who has written six books about the work of animals in war zones, hopes to soon be able to meet with the Prime Minister to discuss the possibility of introducing a War Animal Day and a service animal medal. He also has a meeting in June regarding the Kokoda Trail.
“Next month I have a meeting with the PNG ambassador in Canberra. We are hoping to supply the PNG government with a plaque recognising the deeds and sacrifices of animals on the Kokoda Trail.”