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Thursday 18th July 2019  

Ralph Thornton 1944

April 28th 1944

Corporal Ralph Thornton, who is serving with the CMF; second son of Mr and Mrs Herbert Thornton, of Park View, Quorn, writes to his parents about his work in the veterinary section.

He recently sent them a copy of the Union Jack, published for the British Fighting Forces; also the Crusader, the 8th Army weekly, in which an article "Monty's Circus", has the pencilled remark "That is us". One of the papers contains a picture of Corpl. Thornton on mule back with one of his pals. In a letter he says the photographer mistook them for Indians, "possibly," he says, "because we were unwashed and wanted a shave."

Before the war the worked for Mr C S Hunting, of Loughborough, and his love for animals now finds a vent in looking after and doctoring mules that bring the supplies of petrol for tanks. Among his colleagues is Pte. Charlie Drake, who was one a stud groom in the late Mr Solly Joel's establishment.

The pet mules of his unit are Anna Muskeen, Ala Keefik, Backsheesh and Malish. The Crusader says, "It is a hell of a job" teaching Italian to Arab mules, but as there are two named Finito and Biscotti, some of them evidently don't need much teaching.

 Submitted on: 2009-10-30
 Submitted by: Kathryn Paterson
 Artefact ID: 553

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