Purple poppies to signify service animals at Cleveland's Anzac Day commemorations

COMMEMORATIONS: Australian War Animal Memorial organisation president Nigel Allsopp with Redlands RSL Sub Branch deputy president Ian Gray. Photo: Hannah Baker

COMMEMORATIONS: Australian War Animal Memorial organisation president Nigel Allsopp with Redlands RSL Sub Branch deputy president Ian Gray. Photo: Hannah Baker

PURPLE poppies will be used to acknowledge the wartime services of animals at Cleveland’s main Anzac Day service.

Redlands RSL Sub Branch deputy president Ian Gray said WWI centenary commemorations, which will continue this year, offered a chance to pay homage to dogs, donkeys, horses, camels and homing pigeons.

SEE RELATED: Anzac Day services for Redlands

Purple poppies will sit alongside the symbolic red poppy which will remain in vogue as a mark of respect.

Mr Gray said the day was about remembering the sacrifices of Diggers, servicemen and women, with the lavender-coloured flower a small gesture to recognise the role of man’s best friend and other animals.

“Naturally we are remembering our fallen, but we are also remembering war animals,” he said.

POPPY BOARD: The Australian War Animal Memorial board to be pinned with purple poppies by children after Cleveland's main service, which begins at 11am. Photo: Hannah Baker

POPPY BOARD: The Australian War Animal Memorial board to be pinned with purple poppies by children after Cleveland's main service, which begins at 11am. Photo: Hannah Baker

The purple poppies will be pinned to a purple memorial board after the 11am service at Anzac Centenerary Park.

Mr Gray said service animals would be included in the main march, which starts at 10.20am from the Cleveland Bowls Club on Shore Street West.

He said a light horse contingent, two camels and mounted police would help lead the parade, with pigeons also set for release.

Australian War Animal Memorial organisation president Nigel Allsopp said the use of animals alongside troops had been invaluable in Allied efforts in WWI and WWII.

While homing pigeons were used to carry important messages from the front lines to command, the strength of horses and donkeys helped transport equipment and wounded soldiers.

But it is man’s best friend which perhaps served a leading role.

Not only did they alert Diggers in trenches to gas attacks and intruders, their sense of smell enabled injured soldiers to be found among the dead without a search by men.

Mr Allsopp said the risky mission to rescue the wounded began after the dogs returned.

For more information, visit Australian War Animal Memorials

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