War Monkey?

The Guardian has a piece today reminding people that it was not just War Horses who behaved heroically in the two World Wars: Top Ten Animal War Heroes.

I agreed fully that the other species should all get a look-in for their sterling war-time exploits, but then realised that their stories might not have had the impact if tackled in the same way as our equine friends. I mean, would you want to go to see a play called ‘War Monkey’? Perhaps you would, but you wouldn’t be expecting anything with any gravitas. Our simian friends are just too innately comical to be taken seriously, no matter what they might have been up to.

Continuing down the list, there has obviously already been a novel and movie of The Dogs of War and this has a fitting ring to it (courtesy of Shakespeare via Frederick Forsyth). But what of the pigeons, donkeys, camels, elephants, cats, tortoises (?), and dolphins?

I’ve had a few ideas of novels/movies/theatrical productions that might accommodate these:

  • Pigeons over Passchendaele 
  • The Donkeys of Dunkirk
  • A Clash of Camels at Casablanca
  • Elephants at El Alamein
  • The Cretan Cat Corps
  • The Ten Tortoises at Tobruk
  • Dolphin Depth-charge Death Dive

On second thoughts, these might make better ‘boys-own’ type comic books a la the WarlordBattle Picture Weekly and Commando titles of my youth.