The Purple Poppy




We encourage you to download and use all videos and media files to help spread the word.
Nigel Allsopp, Dr Kendall Crocker, Ray Thomas, and Lawrence Watts are all available for interview and comment,
please find their contact details in the bios.

Hear from Nigel Allsopp, President of the Australian War Animal Memorial Organisation.


Nigel Allsopp

Image source: The Australian War Animal Memorial Organisation.

Nigel Allsopp is a leading authority on canines, having spent 15 years with the Royal New Zealand Air Force Police as a military working dog handler and becoming responsible for all aspects of Canine Operations and training. After leaving the military, Nigel migrated to Australia to pursue his interest in wild canine research. An ongoing desire to work with dogs again led Nigel to join the Queensland Police Service. Over the last ten years, he has given his time freely conducting talks and lectures on the history and plight of service animals to schools, Rotary groups, Universities, hospitals, and numerous organisations. Nigel has been recognised for his incredible work in continuing to fight for recognition and remembrance of these astonishing animals by being awarded ANZAC of the Year 2017-2018 and was recognised through the Scenic Rim Councils Australia Day Awards in 2019.

After years of campaigning, Nigel successfully secured a commemorative day for all war animals, which was passed in Parliament through his efforts. The first official National Day for War Animals was the 24th of February 2019, and the support for the day has only grown in the years since. Nigel currently serves as the President of the Australian War Animal Memorial Organisation and continues to push forward with his passion and knowledge to spread the message of commemoration and memory of the incredible acts of service war animals have undertaken. Through AWAMO, Nigel also continues his important work with service dog assistance projects, international projects, and local commemorative efforts.

Nigel is available for media.

Contact details:
Mobile: 0415 980 804
Email: [email protected]

Lawrence Watts

Image courtesy of Lawrence Watts.

Lawrence is a Professional Business Management Consultant, Importer and Equine Events Manager and Equine Judge with a comprehensive background in Accountancy, Commerce and Financial Management, Contract Law, Marketing and Project Management. He has worked nationally and internationally and travelled extensively. He is a Fellow and Member of the leading Professional Business and Management Institutes. His military involvement started back in 1975 as a Trooper with A Sqn 12th/16th Hunter River Lancers in Armidale NSW as a Reservist. He was awarded the Bruce Ezzy trophy in 1976 for the Top Trooper for A Sqn and in 1977 won the Best Student Assault Trooper trophy for A Sqn and has received the Australian Defence Medal.

He joined The Australian Light Horse Association in 1992 and became a National Director not long after that and has held positions as President, Secretary and Treasurer of a number of light horse re-enactment troops in Southeast Queensland and represented Australian Light Horse in many sporting events locally, nationally and internationally. He is currently the National President of the Australian Light Horse Association Ltd and past Editor of the ALHA Spur magazine. He is also the current President of the AAVC (Australian Army Veterinary Corp) Commemorative Troop Queensland Inc. He was a founding Director and Member of the Australian War Animal Memorial Organisation Inc, (AWAMO), and continues as an ambassador representing AWAMO at events and functions.

Lawrence is available for media.

Contact details:
Phone: 0405 480 266

Ray Thomas

	 Presenting RDHA plaque to the NZ Military Working Dog Unit at the National Army Museum, Waiouru, NZ

Image courtesy of Ray Thomas.

Ray joined the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as a Security Guard and Police/Military Working Dog Handler in 1969 and was discharged as a Warrant Officer in 1994. After service Ray began his work with the RAAF Dog Handlers Association, RDHA. As a volunteer not-for-profit organisation, the Association is firmly committed to the construction of the War Animal Memorial and Plaque Project at parks, RSLs and Local & Federal government Pozieres France, NZ Military Working Dogs, UK Military Working Dogs and the Michigan War Dog Memorial in the United States sites to raise the awareness of the intelligence, friendship and sacrifice these animals have brought to the defence strategies and history of our country.

In 2011, Ray was elected Secretary of the RDHA and in 2012 was elected President, bringing the Association up to date with modern technology during his tenure. In 2021, Ray took a step back from the Presidency and was elected into a new position as the Director of International Projects for the RDHA, the position he is proud to hold today. During his time in his current role, Ray, in conjunction with another organisation, has organised and participated in several War Dog and War Animal Memorials established throughout Australia and 4 overseas in New Zealand, France and the USA. He says one of the greatest achievements and the aim for the RDHA is to bring awareness to the general public of the importance of the men, women and Military Working Dogs that have played a role in defence strategies and that have provided their service and sacrifice for our country. Further to his work with the RDHA, Ray also serves as an ambassador for, and on the committee as a director for the Australian War Animal Memorial Association (AWAMO). He is also the ambassador/director for the Blue Cross Award Australia. Ray is retired and currently lives on the Gold Coast, Queensland with his wife of 55 years, Trish Thomas.

Ray is available for media.

Contact details:
Phone: 0416 120 230

Dr Kendall Crocker

Stephen Davie, CEO of BrandNet with Dr Kendall Crocker accepting a donation to the Australian War Animal Memorial Organisation.

Stephen Davie, CEO of BrandNet with Dr Kendall Crocker accepting a donation to the Australian War Animal Memorial Organisation.

Kendall is an ambassador for AWAMO and has been involved with the organisation for nearly 10 years. As a veterinary officer with the Department of Agriculture and through his work as an Army Reserve Kendall has been involved in almost every aspect of military working dogs. He has become familiar with other international military working dogs from the United States, United Kingdom and New Zealand and is an invaluable source for AWAMO. In his ambassador role, Kendall has helped to open war animal memorials in Australia and overseas including in France to commemorate the role of war animals and the Australian Veterinary Corps during WWI. In his role, Kendall also helps to provide a connection between AWAMO and current military working dog teams. With his knowledge of the handlers and current dogs, and what is important to them, Kendall has been able to help open channels between these groups. He is also a Patron of the Australian Army Veterinary Mounted Troop (AAVC) which is also closely associated with AWAMO.

Kendall is available for media queries to support AWAMO.

Contact details:
Phone: 0428 622 054

Ian Coate

The Purple Poppy team would like to thank illustrator and artist Ian Coate for his generosity and passion in providing beautiful artwork and illustrations to the campaign. Ian is extremely passionate about war animals and remembering their service and has created stunning pieces featuring Military Working Dogs and Australian Light Horse. Ian is a military artist, illustrator and author living and working in Perth, WA. He is also currently the Australian SAS Historical Foundations ‘Artist-in-Residence’ and continues to work on his series as the co-creator of ‘Mythic Australia’. Visit his website here.