During the Great War, dogs not only acted as messengers or scouts detecting enemy fighters but there also formed a soldiers-dogs bond wherein “man’s best friend” gave companionship and comfort to the troops in the war-torn front lines of the conflict.
This soldiers-dogs bond is reflected in the collection of photographs owned by Libby Hall. The images number to thousands and was accumulated over a span of forty years. These snaps not only show the visible soldiers-dogs bond between the WWI troops and their canine companions, they also portrayed the crucial roles the animals did during the First World War.
Aside from scouting and being message bearers, dogs were also sent out to the battle fields seeking out injured soldiers. Oftentimes, simple medical aids were strapped on to their bodies so the wounded could administer aid to their own wounds without having have to leave the spots they were on.
Some dogs were also used as mascots, bearers for certain organizations like one exhibit photo of a pooch covered up in patriotic regalia with the name National Relief Fund. The said group was put up to aid the families of those who were serving during the said conflict.
Reportedly, there were about 20,000 canines involved in the First World War. After the conflict ended, the canines were referred to as the war’s unsung heroes.
Libby Hall’s myriad of dog photos taken during WWI not only showed the soldiers-dogs bond between the Tommies [British soldiers] but also the Jerries [German soldiers] as well.
According to the now 76-year-old former press photographer, her collecting old dog photographs, which started way back in 1966, began “by chance” and wasn’t really intentional. That time, a Dalston junk shop doing house clearances had earmarked old photographs for the trash and Libby persuaded them to let her have the vintage pictures. A dog owner herself, she began to be intrigued by the ones that had dogs in them.