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Horrie the War Dog: The Story of Australia's Most Famous Dog

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Home » Books » History » Military History » World War II

Horrie the War Dog

The Story of Australia's Most Famous Dog

By Roland Perry

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Format: Paperback, 352 pages
Published In: Australia, 01 November 2013
Horrie, the Egyptian Terrier, found as a starving pup in the harsh Libyan Desert, became the much-loved mascot of the First Australian Machine Gun Battalion in World War II. Yet he was no ordinary symbol, and the Gunners' love for him was not mere affection for a pet. It was in return for Horrie saving the lives of every member of the thousand strong contingent, not once but several times in the Middle East. His exceptional hearing picked up the whine of enemy aircraft two minutes before human ears. Horrie's ritual of sitting, growling, barking and then leading the dash for trenches, had the Gunners running for cover before their camp was strafed and bombed. He was adopted by the 'Rebels,' a small group of Signallers, who secretly carried him through battle zones of Libya, Egypt, Palestine (Israel) and Syria. Horrie was smuggled into Australia after a harrowing boat trip home early in 1942, when the Battalion returned to face the threat from marauding Japanese Forces. The dog stayed with the family of his 'Master' Private Jim Moody, who went off to fight the enemy in New Guinea. When he came back in 1945, Moody brought Horrie out of hiding to help raise money for the Red Cross. Quarantine pounced and condemned the dog to death. Moody and the Rebels were shocked. They and a thousand others owed their existence to Horrie. Now they were being ordered to submit the dog, who was fit and disease-free, for extermination. How could Moody and Rebels beat the bureaucracy when defying the authorities would mean jail for them, and Horrie being caught and killed? Could they create a scheme to save him as they had in carrying the dog everywhere with them in the North African and Middle East Campaigns? Or was Horrie, the Gunner's hero, to be condemned to canine martyrdom? The answers are in Horrie the War Dog, a true tale of intrigue and illusion; a story of sacrifice, courage and loyalty in the finest ANZAC tradition.

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About the Author

Roland Perry has written 28 books, including Bill the Bastard, Bradman's Invincibles, The Changi Brownlow, The Australian Light Horse and Monash: The Outsider Who Won a War.

EAN: 9781743317990
ISBN: 1743317999
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Dimensions: 20.8 x 13.8 centimetres (0.30 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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My father was in the 2/1Machine Gun Battalion in WW2. When we were children, the story of Horrie was one war story he was happy to tell us. We also went on a family holiday to Canberra and saw Horrie in a diorama in the War Memorial museum. My father would have been pleased to see Horrie's story in print. My adult children have appreciated reading it and reflecting on their grandfather's experiences as a young man. The story provides a human perspective to experiences that were pretty gruelling over six long years (1939-45). Stories like this remind us as generations that followed, of the adaptability of the human spirit and the capacity of men thrown into the traumas of war to get through very tough years with determination and humour, defiance and hope. Horrie was symbolically important to the 2/1 Machine Gunners as well as having a very hands on (paws on?)role in their survival. We grew up thinking of him as the cute Battalion mascot (my father was happy to give us this version, not telling us gory details of war), but Horrie was much more than that. He represented survival, resilience, pugnacity, hope. He was also something to love and care for. One old man I knew said that in the war, you survived if you had hope...Horrie gave a focus to hope. A dog after all is a man's best friend...or a Battalion's!

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