The 22nd August marks the 100th anniversary of the first horses to be shipped out to the front line of WW1. Despite the horrific condition in the trenches, the bond that developed between soldiers and their animals was often a deeply emotional one as this picture of 650 officers and men lining up in the shape of a horse head shows.
The image to the left shows a driver from the Royal Regiment of Artillery, lying in the grass reading. His horse is lying resting on the grass beside him. This peaceful scene is testament to the strong bond that often developed between the drivers and their horses. It must have been very difficult to train the horses to withstand the noise of the very heavy guns and the constant shelling.
Of the one million horses supporting the British forces, just 60,000 returned to the U.K. A great number were killed whilst in service, and many of those who survived were sold into a life of hard labour across Africa. These once majestic animals who had come from the green pastures across England did not enjoy the comfortable life of retirement they deserved having served their country so faithfully. Image ©The National Library of Scotland. Edited from www.thebrooke.org/horseheroes