© Dareen A. Bridge
Contact the author at ‘Emmsmoor’ • 174 • HD2 1JS • United Kingdom
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One sad casualty to wartime shortages was
the disappearance of the ‘Collie Folio’,
which found itself unable to maintain the
high standards set under both Mr Mason
and Mr Stansfield’s ownership, the Kennel
Club’s suspension of all canine activities
making closure in 1917 inevitable, and
leaving the collie without one of its
most powerful voices.
Animals have always played an important role in times of war, and in recent times dogs, including the Collie, have been elevated to a more prominent position in this field. Not until World-War I were dogs used extensively by British Servicemen, but at the outbreak of this conflict Mr Edwin H. Richardson, himself a retired Major and son of a ‘gentleman farmer’ with an interest in training dogs and knowledge of the methods used by the German Army, eventually persuaded the British War Office to sponsor the training of selected dogs. Granted the honorary rank of Lieutenant Colonel, Richardson opened the first War Dogs Training School at Shoeburyness in Kent, training dogs, mostly strays from the various dogs homes scattered throughout the British Isles, to carry messages and supplies, or for sentry duties capable of warning service personnel of approaching enemy. For this work dogs needed to be fit and agile of medium height, and possessing acute hearing, keen scenting abilities, plus a strong homing instincts, which possibly explains why Collies were considered very suitable particularly when one remembers their double weather resistant coats which would assist survival in the cold damp conditions experienced in trench warfare.