Home' Army News : May 26th 2011 Contents Have you had your say?
Centre for Military and Veterans' Health
Timor-Leste Family Study
Because families deploy as well...
If you have received an invitation to participate in the
Timor-Leste Family Study, but have yet to accept,
we would really like to hear from you!
To participate, please go to the webpage that is shown in your email
or paper invitation and follow the instructions.
We would also like to remind ADF members to help us invite your
current or former partners to the study--to do this, just fill out your
partner's details on your consent form.
You and your partner's participation will contribute to a broader
understanding of the deployment experiences of families.
For more information about the study, please contact the study team:
1800 708 335
A study under the Department of Veterans' Affairs Family Study Program
Army May 26, 2011
ARMED conflict has seen many changes
since the outbreak of World War I. Along
with new combatants and environments
have come machines, robotic systems and
other technologies now indispensable to today's global
Yet high-tech support has not always existed
to help soldiers on the frontline, and a century ago
Australia's armed forces relied on a resource widely
forgotten in today's military sphere -- the horse.
These animals were elemental to the Army in
WWI, with the nation sending more than 120,000
horses overseas, including about 40,000 to the battle-
fields in France and the Middle East.
The head of the Army History Unit, Roger Lee,
says the scale and complexity of the Great War
would have been impossible without their support.
"For the Army, horses were simply the equivalent
of the Land Rover, the Unimog, the semi-trailer, the
motorbike and the staff car all rolled into one," he says.
Military historian and author Maj Michael Tyquin
agrees, saying horses and other animals were key
military assets on all sides.
"All the armies of the time relied heavily on
horses, mules and camels for transport and for a mul-
titude of logistics tasks," he says.
"Certainly in the Middle East, any number of bat-
tles and campaigns would have turned out differently
had it not been for the availability of fit animals at
the time and place where they were needed."
Yet, in the harsh and changing conditions of war,
the people caring for these horses were just as vital,
and their story is told in Maj Tyquin's new book
Forgotten Men: The Australian Army Veterinary
The non-combatant Australian Army Veterinary
Corps (AAVC) supported the country's armed forces
through the care and supply of the military's horses.
Drawing on official documents, memos and diary
entries, Maj Tyquin recounts in detail many of the
unit's long and taxing tasks, from treating new dis-
eases and sicknesses, to delivering lectures on animal
welfare and managing the effects of water shortages
and poor horsemanship.
For the men of the AAVC, it was a time of both
triumph -- such as the establishment of the Australian
Veterinary Hospital near Calais, France, in 1917 --
and sadness, with many horses lost through injury,
aerial bombings, gas attacks and harsh winters.
"Readers will learn that while not a glamorous
corps, the vets and their soldiers did a magnificent
job in WWI maintaining large forces in combat in
two theatres of war -- the Western Front and in the
Middle East," Maj Tyquin says.
Although the corps continued to serve in WWII,
the mechanisation of both civilian and military life
saw its role on the battlefield slowly fade.
By the end of the war the AAVC was officially
disbanded, and its place in the Army was no more.
Maj Tyquin says although the corps is not widely
known or recorded in history books, Forgotten Men
serves to share the story of a unit once indispensable
to the Army.
"Animals were an intrinsic part of war, but like
the soldiers they carried or supported, they too had
to be fed and watered, rested and cared for," Maj
"Working quietly behind the scenes were the
members of the AAVC who laboured to ensure that
horses and mules, camels and dogs and pigeons all
played their part in bringing victory in two
Forgotten Men is available at all good book stores and online
Gone but not forgotten
Modern warfare may be
characterised by machines and
military technologies, yet in
wars past, combat support was
of a different kind, Natalie
Alexander learns about a key
component of Australia's war
machine 100 years ago.
Hard times: A wagon and mule team of the 3rd Division struggle through mud near Potijze Farm,
Ypres sector in October 1917.
Big Sky Publishing, 480pp
RRP $34.99. ISBN: 9780980814088
WIN THE BOOK
Compliments of Big Sky Publishing and the AHU, Army has two
copies of Forgotten Men to give away. To enter, answer this sim-
ple question: In what year was the Veterinary Corps disbanded?
Email your answer, name and contact details to competitions@
defencenews.gov.au. Please ensure the email subject line
includes the words "Forgotten Men". Entries close June 10.
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