Animals in War cover

Published: 1983


Animals in War

Valiant horses, courageous dogs, and other unsung animal heroes

Pigeons carrying vital messages to and from the beleaguered city during the Siege of Paris; horses and mules struggling through miles of fetid mud to bring ammunition to the front in the Great War; dogs sniffing out mines for the British invasion force in the Second World War – countless brave animals have played their part in the long, cruel history of war.

Some have won medals for gallantry – like G.I. Joe, the American pigeon who saved 100 British lives in Italy, and Rob, the black and white mongrel who made over twenty parachute jumps with the SAS. Too many others have died abandoned, in agony and alone, after serving their country with distinction.

Jilly Cooper has written a tribute to the role of animals in wartime. It is a tragic and horrifying story – yet it has its lighter moments too: a hilarious game of musical chairs played on camels during the Desert Campaign; and the budgie who remarked, when carried from a bombed-out East End tenement, ‘This is my night out’.

This is a vivid and unforgettable record of man’s inhumanity to animals, but also an astonishing story of courage, intelligence, devotion and resilience.

Read an extract from the book

I couldn’t put it down and cannot recommend it too highly to everyone interested in animals

Dog World

Jilly Cooper presents these remarkable, often heroic and pitiable stories, in what might prove to be one of her most enduring books

Northern Echo

A most valuable addition not only to the library of canine literature, but to the history of wars

Dog Training Weekly

I laughed out loud - and had a little cry

Sunday Telegraph

Fascinating and by no means without humour

Glasgow Herald

Cooper brings her considerable gifts to a neglected area of military history

Horse & Hound

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I read this book when I was much younger and the message and stories have never left me - it was a perfect gift for an animal loving friend.


An informative astonishing read for any animal lover, there are no words to describe these thousands of animals who gave their lives in the service of their country.


Great book, very informative and readable in Jilly's usual style.


I would especially recommend it for horse mad teens or elderly relatives who may have childhood memories of the war.