Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], September 26 (ANI): Lieutenant General Basant Kumar Repswal, Commandant of Army Service Corps (ASC) Centre College placed a wreath at the Animal War Memorial at the ASC Centre and College while paying homages to the animals and their handlers who have sacrificed their lives in the battlefield.
Repswal paid homages on the occasion of the Animal Transport Remembrance Day. This was followed by a military guard of honour. As the bugles sounded the last post, a two-minute silence was observed.
Erected in 2006, the first of its kind animal memorial in Asia signifies the pivotal role played by the mules and horses of the Indian Army, according to an official release of the Defence Ministry.
"These animals belonging to the Army Service Corps, who have rendered a yeoman service in relentlessly hauling war stores up the goat tracks of the treacherous Himalayas, often paying the highest price of sacrificing their life in the line of duty have been chronicled in the Memorial," the release said.
"Their saga of relentless service, unfailing resilience, commitment and unflinching loyalty of the muleteers and their mules has created for itself a prodigious reputation and place of pride in the history of the Indian Army. To ensure that these hoof prints do not get obliterated, this saga was brought to life in the form of a sculptured monument in the Equestrian Training Area of the ASC Centre and College, Bangalore on December 8, 2006 first of its kind in Asia," it added.
This animal transport memorial has been extended recently by constructing two walls supported by Roman pillars on either side. These walls chronicle the role played by the animals in the Indian Army since the British Raj, gives details of 637 gallantry awards won by the brave muleteers, 49 battle casualties since independence, 14 gallantry awards to mules since independence and 05 military recognitions bestowed by the Chief of the Army Staff and other Army Commanders on AT units, who have been relied upon heavily to fill an important niche in the logistics networks of the Indian Army.
September 26 of each year has been nominated as the AT Remembrance Day as it was on this day in 1914, that 9th mule Corps, as part of the Indian Expeditionary Force, landed at Marseilles in France, to a most hearty and enthusiastic welcome by the French to support the British and allied armies in World War One.
A total of 145 such AT units were to serve during the war in France, Belgium, Egypt, Gallipoli, Palestine and Sinai and helped the allied forces turn the tables on Germany led axis powers. (ANI)