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Historic gallery

Step back in time and explore our historic gallery of photographs, books, logos and paintings from World War One. To view our exclusive archive photographs, visit our audio slideshows page.

1. Promotional poster for The Blue Cross Fund which raised £170,000 (nearly £6.5m today) for sick and injured animals during the First World War.

2. Promotional poster for The Blue Cross Fund which supplied horse hospitals, ambulances and vital veterinary supplies to the front lines.

3. Postcard showing soldiers and horses at a Blue Cross hospital in WW1. These were sold to raise funds along with bookmarks, stamps, and other items showing emotive images of horses at war.

4. Poster promoting a special service for war dogs. Money raised through The Blue Cross Fund helped more than 50,000 horses and 10,000 war dogs in France alone during the four-year conflict.

5. Goodbye Old Man: watercolour by Italian artist Fortunino Matania showing a British soldier saying farewell to his dying horse. The painting was commissioned in 1916 to raise money for The Blue Cross Fund and now hangs in the charity’s animal hospital in Victoria, London.

6. Treat me well I have done my bit. Our Dumb Friends League was the former name of The Blue Cross and this badge was produced to promote horse welfare after the First World War.

7. Fundraising poster which is on loan to the National Army Museum and available to view in its War Horse: Fact & Fiction exhibition until August 2011.

8. ODFL logo: Our Dumb Friends League changed its name to The Blue Cross in the 1950s, in tribute to the vital work of its Blue Cross Fund for animals in war.

9. Blue Cross medal: presented to Peter Livingstone, RFA, for bravery to horses and mules in the Great War 1914-1918.

10. Fundraising poster. Soldiers became very attached to the horses who fought alongside them on the battlefield and many wrote in gratitude for the help their animals received from The Blue Cross.

11. Story of the British War Horse: Excerpt from 'The Great War - The Standard History of the All Europe Conflict' by Basil Clarke, Volume 9, Part 159. Published by Amalgamated Press Ltd., London, 1st September 1917.

12. Under The Blue Cross by Charles W.Forward: Decades before Michael Morpurgo’s hit book War Horse, the chairman of Our Dumb Friends League wrote this children’s story about two horses in the war. Published by Hodder and Stoughton, 1915.

— Page last updated 25/04/2019