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Staffordshire libraries get Great War puppy book exclusive

Staffordshire Libraries are telling the tale of “Freda – The Anzac Puppy” this September and October as part of the Staffordshire History Festival.

 ‘Freda – The Anzac Puppy’ by author Peter Millett is the story of the New Zealand Rifle Brigade’s mascot, an adopted Harlequin Great Dane, who trained with the unit on Cannock Chase during WW1.

Now, following a kind donation of 20 copies of the book by The Friends of Cannock Chase, Staffordshire Library Service now has additional copies in all its libraries.

The Anzac Puppy cover: Cover of the new book

The Anzac Puppy cover: Cover of the new book

Freda was picked up by the brigade in Staffordshire and lived with them at Brocton Camp. She was often seen leading them on route marches and was loved by the soldiers for her companionship during a difficult time in history. She was also an enthusiastic participant in the camp’s ceremonial parades.

Freda the Anzac Puppy: the only known photo of Freda the Harlequin Great Dane

Freda the Anzac Puppy: the only known photo of Freda the Harlequin Great Dane

Gill Heath, cabinet member responsible for libraries at Staffordshire County Council, said:

This is a wonderful local story of the Great War and Cannock Chase and it’s great news that the county’s children will be able to read and enjoy it for years to come.

It’s a simple story about the reality of war, hardship, friendship and love and I would like to thank the Friends of Cannock Chase who donated our first 20 copies and to Peter Millett for his help in getting extra copies.”

Peter Millett said:

A century ago brigades of New Zealand soldiers travelled 18,000 kilometers across the world to find themselves stationed in temporary quarters in Staffordshire. During their stay there a group of Kiwis struck up an incredible friendship with a local dog named Freda. The bonds of this friendship were so strong that the soldiers left behind a hand-carved memorial so Freda would never be forgotten. It has been a privilege to write my story The Anzac Puppy and I hope that my efforts help to keep her legacy alive for future generations.”

At Freda’s Grace: local WW1 historian and reenactor Brett Harrison at Freda the Anzac Dog’s grave on Cannock Chase. The headstone was created by Friends of Cannock Chase and laid at a special commemoration service

At Freda’s Grace: local WW1 historian and reenactor Brett Harrison at Freda the Anzac Dog’s grave on Cannock Chase.  The headstone was created by Friends of Cannock Chase and laid at a special commemoration service

People can find out more about The New Zealand Rifle Brigade in Staffordshire during the Great War at www.staffordshiregreatwar.com  or visit Staffordshire Past Track to view images www.staffspasttrack.org.uk 

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