Today, November 11, 2017 let us take a moment at the 11th hour to remember the fallen horse soldiers.
From this peaceful land
To hellfire we were sent,
Bomb blasts, shellfire and barbed wire,
Explosions, fearful gas and groans,
Lay man and beast wrenched and maimed.
On foreign soil last breaths inhaled.
Through horror, fear and pain
Knee-deep mud, cold and rain
We heaved and pulled
With little to sustain.
We don’t feel like heroes,
Though heroic tasks were done,
We knew it was our duty
To get the battle won.
I am home again at last,
My legs are swollen and my body weak,
My skin and cuts are healing,
But I will not forget.
So here in silence with lowered head
Over the bones of fallen friend
I stand forever to honour
All those who came not home.
The casualties of WW1 were enormous; both human and equine. 8 Million equines did not return home. In England there is, in the making, a marvelous project to honor those fallen horse soldiers. The War Horse Memorial will be the first national memorial dedicated to the memory of the horses, donkeys and mules who lost their lives in the horrors of WW1. The memorial will consist of a larger than life bronze statue of a horse, mounted on a plinth, by British sculptor Susan Leyland ,who also wrote the very moving poem that expresses the thoughts of the mare who did return home. The mare with bowed head has a tear falling from her eye reflecting the brutality of this war and her sadness at the death of her fellow horse soldiers. It will be cast in Scotland using lost wax and sand techniques.
The official unveiling will be in June 2018. The statue will stand at the top of the high street in Ascot on land which has been gifted by the Ascot racecourse. This memorial will also be a central point of focus for fundraising to support military and equine charities.
I would like to thank sculptor Susan Leyland for providing me with the photos. For more information on this project and the work being done to cast the large bronze statue please follow these links.