The Purple Poppy

Press Release

Commemorating those who have served us bravely and without complaint.



One of the many posters created to support National War Animal Day in 2022.
Featuring artwork from artist Ian Coate.

The National Day for War Animals, The Purple Poppy, and Supporting the Australian War Animal Memorial Organisation.

The National Day for War Animals is the 24th of February. While this may be a more recent addition to the commemorative calendar, in the service community and beyond, passionate groups are continuing to push for even greater recognition, helping to bring to light the important sacrifices and bravery of the incredible animals that stand alongside us during war.

AWAMO has been a driving force behind the push for recognition and education for war animals both within Australia and internationally. President Nigel Allsopp has been integral to the establishment of a National Day in Australia to recognise these brave animals. Nigel’s efforts paid off in 2019 when the proposal of February 24th as the National Day for War Animals was put to and accepted by Parliament.

The Australian War Animal Memorial Organisation or AWAMO.
Nigel Allsopp, President of AWAMO.

Further to Nigel’s efforts in Australia, February 24 has further begun cementing itself as an international day to recognise war animals, with countries such as New Zealand and the United Kingdom also beginning to adopt the day. AWAMO continues to work towards bringing awareness to the important step of commemorating war animals and recognising their brave sacrifices in past conflicts and into modern service. For many, the most familiar commemorative symbol is the red poppy, honouring those who have served and continue to do so. The purple poppy honours the war animals who have served bravely and without complaint alongside our defence forces in past conflicts and today. It recognises the extraordinary loyalty and courage of all war animals and represents a commitment to continuing to honour and remember their service.

RAAF Dog Handlers Association support AWAMO.

AWAMO and National War Animal Day enjoy widespread support from within the war animal community with Ray Thomas of the RAAF Dog Handlers Association (RDHA) sharing, “on the 24th February of each year we, along with AWAMO, recognise National War Animal Day also known as Purple Poppy Day. This date is very significant to the RAAF Dog Handlers Association, recognising all the War Animals over many years and raising awareness of the intelligence, friendship and sacrifice these animals have brought to the defence strategies and history of our country. The Purple Poppy is the symbol of choice to identify all War Animals.” With every year support within the wider community also continues to grow, helping AWAMO and others share the memory of these brave animals.

In 2022, National War Animal Day will be further recognised by an event in Hervey Bay, Queensland, hosted by the Hervey Bay RSL, with the unveiling of a plaque supplied by AWAMO. The Australian Light Horse Association Ltd., in close association with AWAMO, will be leading the event. Lawrence Watts, the National President of the Australian Light Horse Association said, “The Australian Light Horse Association Ltd and all our members through their respective re-enactment light horse troops throughout Australia are in full support of the Australian War Animals Memorial Organisation, (AWAMO), National War Animals Day by attending ceremonies commemorating National War Animals Day on the 24th of February as mounted light horse troopers representing those horses that served.” For the event at Hervey Bay “representatives from a number of light horse troops will be attending along with other representatives of animals that served in war like the donkeys, heavy horses, dogs and pigeons for example.” This wonderful event commemorating all war animals from the past and currently serving will be held at Freedom Park, Hervey Bay with events to commence at 11am.

Lawrence Watts, National President of the Australian Light Horse Association.

This year BrandNet, the owner and operator of the Military Shop, Army Shop, Navy Shop, and Air Force Shop, has donated $7,000 to the Australian War Animal Memorial Organisation (AWAMO). Combined with their past donations, the donation total to date is now $24,184, with high hopes for more in the future. The donation to AWAMO in 2022 was accepted on behalf of the organisation by Dr Kendall Crocker, an AWAMO ambassador and Veterinary Officer. Dr Crocker said “the War Animal Memorial Organisation has been a great organisation to be associated with… AWAMO continues to promote remembering animals in war through various activities throughout the year, in particular, now the 24th of February is becoming more widely recognised and accepted as the International War Animal Day, and that is spreading the message internationally. That the service and sacrifice of our wonderful military working animals shouldn’t be forgotten and is important to remember” National Day for War Animals is fast approaching, and the important work done by AWAMO and its ambassadors, supporters, and partners is becoming increasingly significant. Spreading the word of this important day and the work that continues to be done to help with the recognition of war animals remains vital to the success of AWAMO and the commemoration of those who have served. For more information on ways to support AWAMO or to read more about Nigel Allsopp, Ray Thomas, Lawrence Watts, Dr Kendall Crocker, or BrandNet please visit media enquiries for the supporters or further content, including videos with Nigel Allsopp and Dr Kendall Crocker, please visit our media page.

CEO of BrandNet Stephen Davie (right) with Major Kendall Crocker (left)
accepting the donation to AWAMO in February 2022.