Thursday, June 7, 2012
New Zealand horses in the Great War
Between 1914 and 1918, New Zealand sent more than 10,000 horses to Europe to serve in the Great War. Only four of those horses ever returned to New Zealand, and of that group only one served with New Zealand forces for the whole of the war, in the Middle East and later in Western Europe: Colonel Guy Powles’ horse Bess. Bess stayed with Colonel Powles for the rest of her life, eventually dying quite peacefully in 1934 while out for a ride with the Colonel.
Horses were also sent to South Africa with New Zealand troopers in the Anglo-Boer War (I send an imaginary trooper with his horse in Settling the Account), and at least one of those horses is known to have made it home.
More on the New Zealand warhorses, including photographs of Bess, here (warning: sad accounts of the fate of most of them).