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Talmage’s painting depicts a scene near the Cambrai front in France. A Canadian Mobile Veterinary Unit is shown taking wounded horses from the front line of battle back to an evacuating station. The mobile veterinary units were part of the Canadian Veterinary Services and worked in the field to collect and give first aid to wounded, sick or overworked animals before transporting them by train to base hospitals.
Algernon Talmage was born in Fifield, Oxfordshire, England, and was exempted from active service in 1914 because of a gun injury to his left hand in his youth. When the Canadian War Memorials Fund commissioned two paintings from him, he was already well known in England for his landscapes and animal paintings.