This past week, I delved more deeply into a source I had found previously: British War Dogs, Their Training and Psychology. This training manual, published in 1920, is similar to that I reported on before by the Red Cross, it includes information on different dog breeds, the proper way to care for them, and the intricate means by which soldier dogs must be trained in order to prepare for battle. This manual is different, however, in that it was created by the pioneer of British canine use in World War I: Lieutenant Colonel E.H. Richardson. Richardson observed German success with dogs prior to the Great War (beginning as early as the 1870s) and strove to convince his compatriots of the usefulness of dogs. Eventually, he was able to convince the British military to create its own canine units and founded the British War Dog School in order to train the dogs himself. Richardson proved to be incredibly successful and other countries followed his techniques to develop their own dog units. Richardson’s manual plays a vital role in my research project and it is a particularly useful source for me.
Another source I unearthed recently is a book I requested through our library’s Inter-library Loan System. This book entitled, Colonel Richardson’s Airedales is devoted to Richardson and the work he accomplished with his wife prior to, during, and after World War I. This book provides a great deal of background information concerning dogs in war, in general, Richardson’s humble beginnings, and a more intimate look into Richardson’s life as he developed and ran his British War Dog School. I am grateful that I was able to retrieve this book from another library and that I have been able to put the university’s inter-library loan system to good use for my project thus far.