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Forgotten Heroes

For their History homework, Year 9 pupils were asked to design a model on a topic relating to the First World War. Pupils only had to design a model but there was the opportunity to do an extension task to build what they had designed.

Mya Thomas was one pupil who decided to go one step further and bring her design to life. Her model, titled ‘The Forgotten Heroes’, was made of chicken wire and depicted a dog and pigeon resting on two crosses.

Between 1914 and 1918, 100,000 pigeons were used to carry messages to and from the Front. They were able to get messages through when other methods failed. Heroic pigeons saved hundreds of lives and kept communication lines open.

Dogs were also used in the front line as messengers, but in many cases they were used as early warning systems, trained to detect the enemy and warn soldiers of danger, usually in subtle ways such as growling or pricking up their ears. Some dogs were even able to detect shells before humans were aware.

Mya explains why she wanted to focus on dogs and pigeons of WW1, “Not many people know about what dogs and pigeons did in the War. People usually talk about the contributions made by horses, but dogs and pigeons tend to be forgotten. I wanted to remember what they did and how much they helped with the war effort.”

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