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Animals to join Anzac tributes

Simpson and his donkey will be a part of the re-enactment at Emu Gully.
Simpson and his donkey will be a part of the re-enactment at Emu Gully. Contributed

THE millions of animals who were killed during the two World Wars will be recognised at the Emu Gully Anzac Day commemoration at Helidon.

More than 8 million horses were killed on both sides during the First World War alone.

A vast number of donkeys, mules, dogs and camels were also killed during the war after serving as scouts, messengers as well as medical and munitions transport.

While mechanical vehicles took up most of the brunt in the Second World War, a further 1.1 million horses were used by the Germans alone.

The Helidon Emu Gully Air and Land Spectacular to be held on May 19 and 20 will honour the forgotten heroes with a full display of gun horses, pack horses and light horse remounts, all in restored battle harness and saddles.

The event is a trip back to the world wars, with Australia's most significant historical wartime events re-enacted.

The re-creation includes the country's largest collection of guns, tanks, troops and planes battling it out, while the animal parade will feature a camel carrying an original First World War desert field medical pack, pack mules, Simpson and his donkey, as well as dogs and pigeons.

Emu Gully Air and Land Spectacular event director Barry Rodgers said the parade would recognise the often forgotten war contribution made by animals.

"Recognition is rarely given to the amazing contribution made by millions of animals during the wars, so we are really proud to give tribute to them this year," he said.

"These animals showed amazing courage and endurance in the harshest conditions, from the freezing mud on the western front to the oppressive heat in Africa, and formed very strong bonds of loyalty and friendship with their handlers, so it will be great to share their story at the show."

The Air and Land Spectacular promises to be the biggest yet, with Australia's largest collection of operating military vehicles coming to life.

The event recreates the smells, sounds and sights of the era, with crowds able to eat the same food as the Anzacs did, watch gunfire and pyrotechnic displays, and even interact with military encampments recreating wartime conditions.

The event runs on Saturday and Sunday May 19 and 20 from 9am to 4pm, with tickets available at the gate.

For more information on the event, visit airandlandshow.com.au.

Topics:  animals, emu gully anzac day, helidon


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