At the beginning of the Great War, plans were put afoot for the Army to move, by road, all the sheep from the farms of the southern counties of Sussex, Kent and Surrey to Salisbury Plain in order to keep them safe should the Germans invade England.
One junior officer, given this task, queried the plan with his immediate superior: “If the Germans invade all the roads are likely to be blocked…”. His superior assured him that, should the plan be put into effect, then signs would be posted on certain roads stating “Sheep are not to use this road”‘.
“What if some of the less educated sheep can’t read?” replied the younger officer sarcastically. It is not known what his superior officer said to this.
Note: A similar plan had been proposed in 1805 during the Napoleonic Wars. Sir John Moore had then proclaimed it to be an impossible task and the plan was quickly dropped. Clearly, nobody in the Ministry in 1914 had remembered this.