The WW1 Horse Who Returned.

Today, November 11, 2017 let us take a moment at the 11th hour to remember the fallen horse soldiers.

WHM_closeup_and_poem

 

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.

WHM_collage_horizont_closeups&crops_small

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.

https://www.thewarhorsememorial.org/

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2gko4_YZLykMG5UMWN3dDZveVE/view

 

18 Comments Add yours

  1. youngeventhorseblog says:

    What a beautiful sculpture

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful post Anne. This poem is so touching and the statue is a very moving tribute. It breaks my heart to think of what the animals went through during the war, I think I would start crying just seeing this statue in person. xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      I agree. I was tearing up reading the poem. Thanks so much for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you. Much appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. dray0308 says:

        You are welcome!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I salute your passion! I have no words..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you and the horses thank you.

      Like

  4. Emma Cownie says:

    Beautiful statue. Many soldiers only got through the war because of the companionship of the horses. I breaks my heart that so many of the horses who survived the war and had done such valiant service were not returned home but used to feed the starving local populations. (sorry to mention it but war is a very ugly thing).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      It is very ugly and you are right to mention it. Dorothy Brooke found so many of the war horses in a dreadful state on the streets in Egypt that it inspired her to start the Brooke organization. She rescued thousands in Egypt then and put most of them out of their misery. What she started continues today and the Brooke works to improve the welfare of millions of working equines in the developing world with education and medical support. So for me that is a silver lining to the sad end that befell many of these war horses. Thank you for commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Emma Cownie says:

        Ah yes, I have heard of the Brooke Foundation but I had no idea of it origins.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Joan Flemming says:

    Thank you for your moving tributes to these special horses!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      You are most welcome. I think they deserve the tributes.

      Like

  6. Alli Farkas says:

    Glad you connected with Susan and got to share her incredible project!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Yes and thank you for pointing me in that direction. This morning my husband read the poem and I could see him wiping his eye!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Again, I love this post! I told my brother about your post and I believe he emailed you. He’s pretty excited that I shared your blog with him!

    Liked by 1 person

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