Chorley Historical and Archaeological Society

News and Views

2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
2014 2015 2016 2017 2018  
Jan 2015 Feb 2015 Mar 2015 Apr 2015 May 2015 Jun 2015
Jul 2015 Aug 2015 Sep 2015 Oct 2015 Nov 2015 Dec 2015
Apr 2015

Tue 14 Apr 2015
Graham Stirrup Ė Animals in War.


Graham started with a brief history of the start of World War One. His presentation involved much video footage, including London street scenes of the early 20th century. It was an example, in this instance, of manís total reliance on horses as a means of transport.
It also showed that armies on both sides were to become reliant on horses as part of their forces. At the warís outbreak the British army had 26,000 horses but quickly realised it would need another 100,000. The country did not have enough horses so many were bought from countries such as the USA, Argentina and Australia.
Graham stated that during the course of the war up to 1 million horses were shipped out of Dover to France. Also, more fodder than ammunition went too.
However, these horses were not needed for cavalry charges, that mode of war had gone forever. Horses were required, though, for the transportation of supplies, weapons and ammunition. The landscape had been transformed into a moonscape due to the heavy artillery barrage. Horses proved to be better at coping with these conditions than motorised vehicles of that time.
The war took its toll on horses as well as the men but it was the weather and disease that accounted for more deaths than enemy guns.

Graham Stirrup

Trying to save the family pet

After the war about 60,000 made in back to Britain, most others being sold in France.
A mule, an offspring of a male donkey and a female horse, was found to be a favourite pack animal because of its temperament and physical attributes. The British army had just 1 at the outbreak of war. By 1918, however, over 40,000 had been bought and brought from the USA.
Graham then described the many uses that dogs were put to that included guard dogs. Dogs were also a target from enemy fire when used as messenger dogs and for laying telegraph cable.
By the Second World War dogs had been trained to detect mines and, surprisingly, to parachute behind enemy lines to support troops such as the SAS.

In 1943 the Red Army, in its desperate fight against the Germans, used suicide dogs against tanks. They trained them to head for enemy tanks fitted with explosives but this was not wholly successful.
An important way of sending messages was by pigeon and although Germans used hawks to kill them, it was said that 95% got through.
From the Middle East where camels were used to Burma where mules and elephants transport heavy loads, animals proved their worth in mechanized warfare.
Dogs still provide a vital role in modern warfare as a means of detection in places, such as in Afghanistan.
To commemorate animals and the vital role they have played a memorial was erected in 2004 on Londonís Park Lane. It is a fitting tribute to animals that were not volunteers but were pressed into the service by man to serve in his conflicts.

Peter Robinson

"The camel can carry up to 450lb, 20 miles daily. Patient to a degree, enduring hunger, thirst & pain with a stoical courage.
First sign a camel may give that he's being asked to do the impossible ... is to drop down dead."

Tue 14 Apr 2015
David Ratledge has produced a much updated website covering the
Roman Roads in Lancshire.
You can find it here:

Fri 10 Apr 2015
Clayton/Leyland Reservoir monument



This afternoon we had a meeting on site to decide the location for the new information board that will be erected soon.



The walls of the old Hygienic Laundry Building at the top of Harpers Lane, Chorley have now been removed, but the roof still remains. I believe they intend keeping the roof for the new building.