Survivor of the Blitz

NOBBY WAS a “vanner” type horse used by the railways in London for deliveries. He suffered injuries during the air raids and was, on his recovery, transferred to work in a quieter station yard in the small town of Marlow. But, when the Beeching axe fell, the station was closed and Nobby was made redundant.

My father bought him as the old mare at the farm had been retired at a good age. Nobby had a very friendly nature and was an excellent worker. The only thing that upset him was the rattle of harness chains. He would shake his head and fidget his feet and become unsettled. We put it down to his terrible experience in the London air raids – he still carried the scars of his injuries. Where possible we covered the chains with leather to stop the rattle.

He was a proud and friendly horse and would visit my mother at the kitchen window for odd titbits – and usually there was something for him. He made friends with our old dog Gyp, who had been a stray. The two of them were often in each other’s company and when Nobby wasn’t working the old dog could often be found curled up under the manger while Nobby munched at his hay – happy in each other’s company.