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Sep10

The Real War Horse Story

Early this month 2014, 100 years after Warrior went to war on the Western Front, he was awarded the PDSA Dickin medal, recognised at the animals Victoria Cross and honoring all the animals that served in the Great War.

The following is an extract from www.warriorwarhorse.com

“Warrior was a Real War Horse

Foaled on the Isle of Wight in 1908, Warrior went to war on the Western Front with Winston Churchill’s great friend, General Jack Seely, in 1914. There he survived all imaginable disasters, was active in many famous battles including those at the Somme and Ypres and he came back four years later.

Eight million other horses and mules did not.

Returning with Jack Seely to his native Isle of Wight in 1918, he lived on until the grand old age of 33, even winning a point to point four years to the day that he had led the charge at Moreuil Wood.

His obituary in the Evening Standard in 1941 read ‘Horse the Germans Could Not Kill’.

An extract from Brough Scott, grandson of General Jack Seely, from a Countryfile report and published on www.warriorwarhorse.com .

“Warrior was a bay thoroughbred gelding that my grandfather Jack Seely bred from his own mare Cinderella and who was foaled in the spring of 1908 a few miles from our then family home at Brooke in the west of the Isle of Wight.

In many ways the real life Warrior is the social pole reverse of Michael Morpurgo’s fictional Joey, the star of War Horse who has so beguiled first readers, then theatre goers and went global in Steven Spielberg’s film. And yet…
Joey is the farmboy’s friend who is bought at market, conscripted into the Army, is lost and battered through terrible ordeals on the Western Front before a triumphantly happy ending.

Warrior is the charger the General bred and rode himself for over thirty years including through all the major battlefields of the Western Front.

He was an equine hero who had grooms and batmen to look after him and whose other riders, then and later, included Judges, Field Marshalls, jockeys and even my mother when her arms were feeling strong.  Very different worlds.

And yet their single most attractive quality is one that is equally shared.  It is the simple, unspoken, uncomplaining nobility of the horse from which men and women have drawn such inspiration down the ages. Warrior may have been at the head of the column not in the ranks, but that only made him more of a target.  He may sometimes have had a roof over his head rather than the open sky, but it remains a miracle how he survived all four years of the war from Ypres, to the Somme, Passchendaele, and Cambrai before finally himself leading a cavalry charge which crucially checked the great German offensive in the spring of 1918.  The date was 30th March – four years to the day he went on to win the Lightweight race at the Isle of Wight point-to-point. Not for nothing did the Canadian cavalrymen whom he led dub him “The horse the Germans couldn’t kill”.