Throughout the centuries whenever humans went into battle, they did so with the assistance of their trusty steed, the horse.
Thousands of horses were transported to assist in the Boer War and World War I. Used for transportation, horses were imperative to the conflict. They moved soldiers, equipment, supplies in the form of food and weaponry, and acted as ambulances in the transportation of wounded soldiers. Horses were trained not to panic or flee at sudden noises and were sometimes taught to bite and kick, thus becoming a weapon in their own right.
Conveying horses overseas was a dangerous proposition for the horse during the Boer War. 16,000 died during the voyage from South America to South Africa.
Under the hardship of little rest, weight overload, and with little veterinary care, a huge percentage died from exhaustion, battle wounds and disease. And when life was especially harsh on the battlefield with a depleted food supply horses were sometimes slaughtered for meat to nourish soldiers.
A Horse trough made of Harcourt Victorian granite commemorates horses which took part in World War I. It weighs 8 tons and is 16 feet in length. Australian soldiers had a great regard and affection for their horses, and were upset that at the end of the war, cost and quarantine concerns meant that horses could not be brought back to Australia.
BURSTOW, SURREY, ENGLAND
William Tebb commissioned a drinking fountain in Burstow to commemorate 400,000 horses killed and wounded during the Boer War, to which he was strongly opposed.
In memory of the mute fidelity of the 400,000 horses / killed and wounded at the call of their masters / during the South African war 1899-1902, / in a cause of which they knew nothing / this fountain is erected by a reverent fellow creature
CANBERRA, ACT, AUSTRALIA
Animals who were companions and early warning systems in Australia’s armed forces, have been honoured with the statue of a bronze horse head, mounted on a tear-shaped granite plinth. Commissioned by the Australian War Memorial it is located in the memorial’s sculpture garden.
Constructed in Portland stone and cast bronze, this monumental memorial is 58ft (17.68m) wide and 55ft (16.76m) deep, and is comprised of three elements.
The arena: Two heavily laden bronze mules struggle to approach a flight of steps leading through a wall.
The wall, arena side: on the left side of the steps, a bas-relief depicts images of many different animals used and lost in 20th century conflicts.
On the right is an engraving: Animals In War / This Monument Is Dedicated To All The Animals / That Served And Died Alongside British And Allied Forces / In Wars And Campaigns Throughout Time / They had No Choice.
On the rear left of the wall is a chiseled engraving: Many / And Various / Animals Were Employed / To Support British And Allied Forces / In Wars And Campaigns Over The Centuries / And As A Result Millions Died – From The Pigeon To The / Elephant They All Played A Vital Role In Every Region Of The World / In The Cause Of Human Freedom. Their Contribution Must Never Be Forgotten.
There is also a dedication stating that the memorial was unveiled on 24th November 2004, and an engraved list with names of benefactors.
On the grass to the rear are statues of a bronze horse and dog in motion.
The names of the designer and sculptor are engraved on the wall to the right.
The inscription reads: He Gains No Crosses As A Soldier May / No Medals For The Many Risks He Runs / He Only, In His Puzzled, Patient Way / Sticks To His Guns.
MELBOURNE, VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA
This memorial statue depicts a donkey carrying a wounded soldier from the battlefield. John Simpson, a famed stretcher bearer with the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, offers assistance as he walks alongside. Simpson became famous due to his heroic efforts during enemy fire to remove injured soldiers from the battlefield to an evacuation point on the beach. He was killed three weeks after his arrival during one of his perilous trips from the battlefield.
PORT ELIZABETH, SOUTH AFRICA
This memorial bears the words: The Greatness Of A Nation / Consists Not So Much In The Number Of Its People / Or The Extent Of Its Territory / As In The Extent And Justice Of Its Compassion.
Erected By Public Subscription / In Recognition Of The Services Of The Gallant Animals / Which Perished In The Anglo Boer War 1899-1902
SANDOWN, ISLE OF WIGHT
Located near the Lake Memorial is this stone trough commemorating the service of war animals. It is inscribed: To The Horses And Dogs Who Also / Bore The Burden And Heat Of The Day / 1914 – 1920
SYDNEY, NSW, AUSTRALIA
A memorial showing a bas-relief of a soldier with three horses. The sculpture is flanked with dedications.
On the left: Erected By Members Of / The Desert Mounted / Corps And Friends / To The Gallant Horses / Who Carried Them / Over Sinai Desert / Into Palestine / 1915-1918.
On the right: They Suffered Wounds / Thirst, Hunger And / Weariness Almost / Beyond Endurance / But Never Failed / They Did Not Come Home / We Will Never Forget Them.
Below the sculpture and engraved panels is a dedication etched into stone: To the Horses of the Australian Desert Mounted Corps. These horses were not returned to Australia after the War due to strict Australian Quarantine regulations.