Faithful service of the animals

THE HORSE had been a major item in the British Army for many years until September 1939. Like its human counterpart it suffered greatly at times and the exact toll was only realised by a small number of people. Other animals were involved in wars, too; mules, camels, dogs, birds and even elephants but horses were in the majority.

In the Boer War 1889-1902, 4m horses were killed.  During the Great War 1914-1918 it was estimated that 8m were killed belonging to all countries that were involved in hostilities and a further 2m were injured but survived after veterinary treatment.

But someone, who was touched by the loss of these fine animals, made sure they were not forgotten and that “civilian” horses near Burstow, Surrey would not pass thirsty. Today the horse trough is filled with plants but the inscription remains. It reads:

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.