Frances Castle celebrates the heroic work of animals who played an invaluable role throughout wartime in this inspiring colouring book published this month by the Imperial War Museum.

Frances Castle's eye-catchingly graphic style is perfect for this brand new colouring book for IWM's unique collection of stories about amazing animal heroes.  Since ancient times our animal friends have helped humans in marvellous ways, showing their incredible bravery, strength and loyalty. Inside this book we discover the real stories, including search-and-rescue dog Jet (featured on the cover), Simon the mischievous cat and Wojtek the greedy bear. There are over 25 illustrations for people to colour in along with fun facts about the role of animals and how they have helped in wars around the world.

Did you know that over 16 million animals served during the First World War alone? 250,000 pigeons helped during the Second World War! Dogs' abilities to sniff out hidden mines and to locate wounded people on the battlefield, or bombed out houses have made them invaluable since the Second World War.

In 1943 Maria Dickin CBE, founder of the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA), introduced the Dickin Medal, also known as the Animals' Victoria Cross. The medal is awarded to animals serving with the Armed Forces or in Civil Defence units that have displayed outstanding acts of bravery or devotion. Award winners include 32 pigeons, 36 dogs, 5 horses, and one ship's cat, called Simon. Other countries also recognise animals for their courage, including the USA which awards the Animals in War & Peace Medal of Bravery.

Animals in Wartime  is an evocative, empathetic and thoughtful book, suitable for adults and children and most of all a celebration of bravery, companionship, and mindfulness. Frances said about illustrating this book: 

"You can’t help but be enthralled by the stories behind theses heroic animals and the unbelievable situations they embarked on, managing to project their characters in simple line drawings has been a fascinating challenge."

Simon the Ship's cat
Simon the cat lived on board HMS Amethyst during the Chinese Civil War. His special duty: ship's ratcatcher! He was award the Dickin Medal for bravery.


Wojtek the bear
Wojtek the Bear was found as a cub by Polish soldiers. He travelled through Egypt and Italy in the Second World War helping to carry boxes of heavy artillery shells. He had a voracious appetite but was much loved for his kind spirit and playfulness


This is Frances' second colouring book collaboration with the Imperial War Museum, following on from their World War Two Planes Colouring Book, published in 2023. She's also illustrated their EXPLORE! A Kid’s Guide to IWM London along with other projects showing her great aptitude for illustrating historical facts in a fun and appealing way.

Frances has worked in many industries including computer gaming, designing limited edition vinyl covers and creating her own graphic novels, her talents broach many genres and with an interest in vintage children’s books and comics she is constantly inspired to experiment with techniques and styles. She's based in London and works digitally on her iPad.

Grab a copy of Animals in Wartime HERE.

You can find Frances in Instagram HERE, you can also view her online portfolio HERE, For more information regarding collaborations please email

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