HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » It is Armed Forces Day, w...

Sat May 18, 2019, 03:35 PM

It is Armed Forces Day, would like to share a little WW1 cat history on this day

Mark Strauss
filed on 8/22/14

Throughout the "war to end all wars," cats were a common sight in the trenches and aboard ships, where they hunted mice and rats. Beyond their "official" duties, they were also embraced as mascots and pets by the soldiers and sailors with whom they served.

An estimated 500,000 cats were dispatched to the trenches, where they killed rats and mice; some were also used as gas detectors. At sea, cats had the run of the ship a tradition dating back thousands of years. As the U.S. Naval Institute explains:

It is likely that the ancient Egyptians were the first seafarers to realize the true value of having cats as shipmates. In addition to offering sailors much needed companionship on long voyages, cats provided protection by ridding ships of vermin. Without the presence of cats, a crew might find their ship overrun with rats and mice that would eat into the provisions, chew through ropes and spread disease. The more superstitious sailors believed that cats protected them by bringing good luck. It was also common for crews to adopt cats from the foreign lands they visited to serve as souvenirs as well as reminders of their pets at home.

Ship's cat aboard the HMAS Encounter. [Wikipedia]

A gunner with the regimental cat in a trench. Cambrin, France, February 6th, 1918. [IWM]

Feline mascot named "Spark Plug." [Library of Congress]

"Pincher," the mascot of the HMS Vindex, sitting on the propeller of one of the sea planes carried by the ship. [Wikipedia]

Two men of the 9th Battalion, Gordon Highlanders (15th Division) with their pet cat. "Martinpuich," August 25th, 1916. [IWM]

More pics & original article here:

1 replies, 869 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 1 replies Author Time Post
Reply It is Armed Forces Day, would like to share a little WW1 cat history on this day (Original post)
yaesu May 2019 OP
TheBlackAdder May 2019 #1

Response to yaesu (Original post)

Sat May 18, 2019, 04:03 PM

1. Cat Custard



Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread