Pages

Friday, 13 February 2015

WWI cats on the internet!

Embroidered postcard of a lucky black cat (D/DLI 7/913/256)
D/DLI 7/913/256 Embroidered postcard of a lucky black cat
Everyone knows that cats and the internet go together like tea and biscuits (and all four go well together). In the Durham at War office, when the fog of war gets a bit much, we turn to our Benedict Cumberbatch calendar with added cats (because that’s a thing).  
February's Cumbercat
February's Cumbercat
In this blog we show some of the cat pictures from the Durham Light Infantry collection.  The postcard at the top shows a lucky black cat, it was sent by Private Fred Lucas to his son in Gateshead in October 1917. 

Cats were popular with the Navy where they were often ships’ mascots but First World War soldiers liked cats too. They provided a respite from the horror and drudgery of war, and boosted the morale of soldiers in hospital. In the photograph of the patient in bed holding the cat, there are also pictures of (lucky black) cats decorating the wall. It was only in sorting the image for the blog that I noticed the one in the tree in the centre.
Photograph of patients and nursing staff, with one patient in bed, holding a black cat, in an unidentified hospital, 1914 - 1918 (D/DLI 7/63/6(17))
D/DLI 7/63/6(17) Photograph of patients and nursing staff, with one patient in bed, holding a black cat, in an unidentified hospital, 1914 - 1918, from the collection of Rev. JAG Birch
Photograph of wounded officers, with a cat, standing with two nurses outside an unidentified military hospital, c.1916 - 1918 (D/DLI 7/951/9(30))
D/DLI 7/951/9(30) Photograph of wounded officers, with a cat, and two nurses outside an unidentified military hospital, c.1916 - 1918, from the collection of Capt. G Rowe
The following picture is the one that inspired this post.  To me it looks like a Chinese brush painting.  It is in the memoir of Reverend JAG Birch that we showed to the archivists from the Somme.  In our catalogue it is described as ‘a tiger and an antelope (?)’ but after discussion amongst ourselves and our French counterparts, we concluded it was a cat and a hare.
'Tiger' by Reverend JAG Birch (D/DLI 7/63/2(143))
D/DLI 7/63/2(143) 'Tiger' by Reverend JAG Birch
The Imperial War Museum has a lovely set of photographs of animals that went to war, both working and as pets: http://www.iwm.org.uk/history/15-animals-that-went-to-war

No comments:

Post a Comment