Gallery: Animals and the DCLI

If you missed the buzz, we recently had a very lovely (but uninvited!) feline visitor to the museum. We have always been proud to be a dog friendly museum, but this got me thinking – how far back does the Regiment’s love of man’s best friend go?  And did the DCLI have any historic connections with other animals?

I spent a delightful afternoon rummaging around the DCLI photo archives, and discovered a treasure trove of images, some never before seen by the public, which show the age-old relationship between the DCLI and their animal counterparts.

By Sophie Hodge, Marketing Manager


This photo album was presented to the Officers of the 2nd Battalion DCLI by Capt. A st C Holbrook 'on leaving, 31st October 1903'
This photo album was “Presented to the Officers of the 2nd Battalion DCLI by Capt. A st C Holbrook on leaving, 31st October 1903′
A page from the above photo album (1903) shows the officers of 2 DCLI, with their four legged friend. (close up below).



Above: The 2nd Battalion DCLI again – this time in July 1910, at Bloemfontein, South Africa. The only person we’ve been able to identify is Private Fred Lavender, front right. The dog’s name is unknown.


Above: 2 DCLI in South Africa in 1910-1911 with their faithful friend.


Historically, horses were were important friends of the armed forces – but I wonder when the last time a horse was ridden through our gates? This is the oldest image here, dating from the late 1800’s.


Above and below: An important job for the war effort – This dog aids his regiment in a recruitment drive during the First World War.
Above: The perfect mascot for the 2nd Battalion DCLI Band!


The DCLI made friends with animals all over the world, including India:

Above: The 2nd 4th Battalion DCLI in India C.1915 – I’m not convinced the dog was happy to sit still for so long!
Above: Officers 1st 4th India 1915 – note their dog proudly wears a flag and caption…
Above: Close up of the dog from the photo above, complete with flag cape and caption!
Above: Dogs were very popular amongst the 1st 4th E Coy in India. This was taken sometime between 1915 and 19. I particularly love how relaxed the dog is, she looks perfectly comfortable there.


The images below are from the 1st/4th DCLI when they were stationed in Bareilly, India during 1914-15.

Above: On the back of this image is written: “a native with a cobra snake which is a very poisonous type” Bareilly, India, July 22 15.

Above: Caption reads: “Bareilly, India 20.5.1915. Postman riding on a camel”
Above: There is no caption on this one (I wish there were!) but it is the only goat featured in this gallery.


Over to Egypt now…

The above image was taken by the 1st/4th DCLI, most likely at El Arish, Egypt, during the First World War.


And even in the trenches of the First World War. 

Above: A poignant photograph of a dog on front line. This photograph was from the collection of A.K. Totton, whose pocket-watch is on display in the museum.
The photograph above is very grainy but deserves to be included: it shows the DCLI at Ypres in 1915, with their curly tailed friend.


Above: Rendle VC, and friend.
Above: 2nd Lt Alec Stanhope Forbes 1DCLI.
Above: Peacetime. The 3rd Battalion at Oakwood Hill in 1919, with a large friend.


Click here to find out more about the museum’s dog friendly policy, and to meet the modern-day museum dogs!