Walter Henry Farrell, a driver with the 2nd Divisional Signals Company, with the unit mascot, a rooster named ‘Jack’ or ‘Jackie’. They are in France in 1917. Members of the unit had bought Jack in Egypt in 1916 when he was still a chick. They found him a better guard than a dog, as he attacked any stranger who entered the unit lines. 

    Photo Credit: AWM/P01835.014

    ‘Cinders’ was the resident cat aboard the HMS Ladybird and is being fed here by L.W. Greysmark in 1940. 

    Photo Credit: AWM/005013

    ‘Ceceila’, a small flying squirrel, was the mascot of the 2/2nd Infantry Battalion in 1944 in Wondecla, Far North Queensland. 

    Photo Credit: AWM/065672

    Private H.P. Barton, a guard of No. 15 Prisoner Of War Camp, holds the camp’s pet kookaburra in Yanco, NSW.

    Photo Credit: AWM/063941

    A group of young wartime engineers cuddle a border collie puppy in Clifton Garens in 1942, Sydney, NSW.

    Photo Credit: AWM/027566

    A cat named ‘Aircrew’ in 1943. Aircrew was adopted by members of the Royal Australian Air Force Flying Training School in Cressy, Vic. 

    Photo Credit: AWM/138288

    Turtle, ‘Tim’, pictured here with Captain D. Michelson, was a mascot of the 2/2 Battalion. 

    Photo Credit: AWM/001117

    This Alsatian dog was a mascot that accompanied these men in Sydney who are about to join WWII overseas in 1940. 

    Photo Credit: AWM/003061

    ‘Septimus’ was a baby possum that was found and reared by Trooper V. Groves (pictured), and became the mascot of Squadron 2/9 Armoured Regiment. Here he is with V. Groves in Wondcla in Queensland, 1945. 

    Photo Credit: AWM/086904

    ‘Hughie’ the pig was only a few days old when it was acquired by his unit. Here, in 1942, he is 10 months old and has just survived a Japanese air raid.  

    Photo Credit: AWM/013056

    ‘Shrapnel’, the puppy, and ‘Salvo’, the cat, don’t get on, but they are stuck together in wartime aboard the HMAS Sydney in 1940. 

    Photo Credit: AWM/002452

    ‘Josie’ the wallaby is being held by Sister Beryl Chandler of Longreach, Qld, at the Medical Receiving Station Royal Australian Air Force with a patient, an officer of the Royal Australian Navy.

    Photo Credit: AWM/NEA0058

    Lieutenant G.A. Greenwood and Sergeant B. Agnew, two members of No. 31 Squadron RAAF, hold the squadron mascots, a joey and a dog, in Coomalie Creek, NT, 1943. 

    Photo Credit: AWM/NWA0031

    An unidentified seaman with three ship’s pets aboard the light cruiser HMAS Melbourne in 1916.

    Photo Credit: AWM/EN0126

    The feline mascot of the light cruiser HMAS Encounter peering from the muzzle of a six-inch gun barrel.

    Photo Credit: AWM/304910

    Squadron Leader G.W. Savage of No. 31 Squadron RAAF, stands in front of a Bristol Beaufighter aircraft holding two of the squadron mascots, a joey and a dog, in Coomalie Creek in the Northern Territory in 1943. 

    Photo Credit: AWM/NWA0032

    In 1945, a member of the B Corps of Signals in Papua New Guinea, travels with his pet dog and crates of carrier pigeons. 

    Photo Credit: AWM/078257

    The kangaroo mascot of the Siege Brigade, 36th Heavy Artillery Brigade of a Royal Australian Artillery, wears a cut down service dress jacket with the Brigade badge on the collar. The kangaroo was presented to the West Australian Section of the Siege Brigade and was taken to England and France. 

    Photo Credit: AWM/A02440

    A pet koala in Cairo (Egypt) in 1915 is held by a Corporal who was probably on the staff of the 2nd Australian General Hospital.

    Photo Credit: AWM/P00156.031

Gallery: Aussie animal war mascots

By AG STAFF | April 24, 2015

A surprising number of animals pop up in the Australian War Memorial’s image library. Some of them were useful members of a unit, others were just a comfort to the men or a reminder of home. For animals this was sometimes for better or for worse, but they are nonetheless part of the story of the Australians at war. Here are some of the animal companions of our troops from WWI to WWII.