The War Mule

Alfred Johnson - Second Row, first left

We've all heard of the noble war horse and most of us have probably seen the film, but how many readers have heard of the unsung mule pack, whose work was equally as demanding as that of the war horse.

Whilst interviewing Mr Aldridge some years ago, he told me about his Grandfather who was in charge of monies and the mule pack in Salonica.

Alfred Johnson was of farming stock and was related to many local farmers of the surname Johnson.  It is believed that his experience with horses put him forward for dealing with the mule pack in Salonica.

On one occasion an explosion on the battlefield terrified one of the mules, which Alfred was riding at the time. The horse reared up and threw Alfred back, still caught in the stirrup, the mule dragged Alfred across the battlefield during which time Alfred sustained multiple injuries after being pulled through barbed wire.  Although he survived he did have to spend time in hospital to recover from his injuries. However, once recovered Alfred was keen to return to the front.

A rare image of life in the trenches of Salonica in WW1

WW1 Medal 1914 Star 28 Mule Corps

After serving in the Great War, Alfred went to serve in WWII, then later served as a member of the Home Guard despite being a chronic diabetic.

The certificates above and below were issued to Alfred Johnson following the war