Tributes to the forgotten heroes

When it comes to remembering the two world wars, animals are sometimes described as the "forgotten victims".

While they may not feature as prominently in Armistice Day services, that's not entirely true.

Since World War Two there's been a huge desire to recognise the role animals played in conflict. The Dickin medal, the equivalent of the military's Victoria Cross, was established in 1943 by the PDSA (People's Dispensary for Sick Animals), a charity that looks after injured animals.

There's even a purple poppy specifically to remember the animals who died. It can be worn alongside the more traditional red flower.

Horses, dogs and pigeons, this article remembers the animals who went to war.

Eight million horses and countless mules and donkeys died in World War One, according to the Animals In War Memorial charity.

Britain lost so many horses on the front line more had to be shipped in from North America. While most horses and mules were used to transport supplies, tens of thousands more were also used as cavalry and gun horses, carrying cannons.

By the time World War Two came round, so many horses had been killed that there simply weren't enough horses for British troops to rely on hooves.

Britain had to start using machines rather than animals.

While French armies opted for horse and motor power, Germany and the Soviet Union decided to still mainly employ horses, using millions between them.

Dogs too, have been remembered for their war work.

In World War One, Lt Col Edwin Hautenville Richardson trained Airedales to act as guard dogs, carry military messages and help find injured soldiers.

Wearing specially made gas masks they were even used by the Red Cross to help deliver medical supplies.

Up to 20,000 dogs were trained for front-line duties during World War One. Bloodhounds and German Shepherds were also used and citizens even offered up their pets for service.

Rob was one such dog. Until his owners Basil and Heather Bayne enlisted him in 1942, this collie was working on a farm in Shropshire. After making over 20 parachute descents in North Africa, he was awarded the Dickin Medal, which has "For Gallantry" and "We Also Serve" written across it.

In total 65 animals have been awarded the Dickin medal since it was first established in 1943.

Some regiments kept dogs as mascots, not for direct service, but to help lift the soldiers' spirits. Some soldiers even took their pets with them to war.

If you live in a city these days you might consider pigeons merely messy 'sky rats', but these birds are clever, fast, loyal and determined.

Around 300,000 pigeons served Britain in the two world wars, carrying vital messages. They became so important for delivering information, you could be imprisoned for six months or fined £100 (a lot more money at that time) if you hurt or killed one.

Cher Ami, French for dear friend, is perhaps the most famous war pigeon. She saved the lives of hundreds of soldiers during one battle by battling on and delivering her message, even though her leg was blown off and she was blinded in one eye by German fire.

Although she eventually died from her injuries, she was awarded the French Croix de Guerre or War Cross Medal with a palm Oak Leaf Cluster from the US for her service. She is now stuffed and on display at the Smithsonian museum.

Whether feathered or furry, it's clear these animals have played their part in helping humans.