Animals at War

Photo:Frederick Croly, Mrs Hill and Olaf

Frederick Croly, Mrs Hill and Olaf

Frederick Croly

The impact of total war on the Home Front affected not only people but also animals. In expectation of the horrors of war, numerous pet owners decided to destroy their pets. Even before hostilities got underway, some 400,000 healthy cat and dogs were put down. There had been no Government advice or orders to this effect but many owners apparently saw this as the right course of action.

Fear of bombardment and invasion shaped the decision of many. Doreen Foreman recalls the family’s pets being destroyed as the family left Margate ‘The thing I think that struck us the most at that time, it was very sad. We had had our animals destroyed. We had a beautiful dog and cat...Bad enough finding somewhere to go without having animals and people had their pets put down and that was very sad’.

Fortunately, there were reprieves for some. Frederick Croly, an evacuee from London, was sent to Devon and is pictured here with his foster mother, Mrs Hill and a Samoyed dog called Olaf (named after the King of Norway). Olaf was taken in by the family when his female owner was conscripted for the duration.   

This page was added by Malin Lundin on 04/11/2011.