Photographs of Military Mascots in WWI

“John Bull” – the mascot of the 77th Aero Force. 165-WW-472A-49

Years before the United States Marine Corps officially adopted the bulldog as its mascot or the United States Military academy adopted the mule, many military regiments adopted mascots and pets. Some were donated by local groups and many were found.

Many of these mascots had jobs, whether utilitarian or ceremonial. Pigeons carried messages, dogs helped to lay telephone wires, and mules carried supplies and soldiers. However, most of the mascots provided kinship and comfort to the soldiers and were noted to significantly boost their morale.

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NARA is currently completing a large-scale project to digitize photographs and films from World War I, including these photographs from 165-WW, American Unofficial Collection of World War I Photographs, 1917-1918. Check back soon for updates on this project.

3 thoughts on “Photographs of Military Mascots in WWI

  1. Many military mascots have official military personnel files (OMPFs), which were created to give authenticity to the mascots. These are available at the National Archives at St. Louis (RL-SL).


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