Jimson was a mule who worked for the British Army. He started his military career in India carrying ammunition across difficult terrain. He also served in South Africa during the Boer War (1899-1902).
Mules - a crossbreed of horses and donkeys - are incredibly strong, hard working and clever. They were often used as beasts of burden by the army. But most were only given numbers, not names, as they were seen as inferior animals.
As he was such a brave mule, Jimson was awarded the India Medal in 1895 and the two Boer War campaign medals. Animals could not formally receive medals, so it's likely that these were either specially made replicas or donated by a soldier to the mule.
After admirable service in South Africa and India, Jimson earned a promotion. He became the mascot of 2nd Battalion The Duke of Cambridge's Own (Middlesex Regiment).
When the battalion returned home, they got special permission to bring Jimson back with them. Quarantine rules usually prevented horses and mules returning from the battlefield.
After his death, one of Jimson’s hooves was removed and turned into an inkwell. While relics like this may seem macabre to us, owners often used them as mementoes and inscribed them with dedications to their lost companion.