The clatter of hooves on the streets of Bunbury Saturday morning signalled the start of a parade and ceremony to mark National Day for War Animals.
Members of the 10th Light Horse Bunbury Troop mounted up for a ride through the city centre to mark the day. Australia, since 2019, has joined other countries, including the UK and New Zealand, in officially recognising the deeds and sacrifices of war animals serving alongside our troops with their own day of remembrance.
Wearing purple poppies to remember all animals that died in service in all wars, the men and women who took part in Saturday's parade finished their ride at the Bunbury War Memorial, where they laid a wreath of hay.
More than 8 million horses and mules died in World War I; Australia sent 136,000 horses to war, only one came back. Animals were a crucial part of the war effort. Horses, donkeys, mules, and camels carried food, water, ammunition, and medical supplies to men at the front, and dogs and pigeons carried messages, and canaries used to detect poisonous gas.