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Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Diary Entry - 20th December, 1916

Walford: Section gun drill from nine thirty a.m for an hour, a very frosty morning. One of my horses died of colic during the night - he was a bad windsucker.

Bee: Walrond and Claudie went to Abbeville. The lorry went to Goschen-le-Gal [?]to pick up our piano, which we left there before we went to the Somme. I jumped my horses today and found they are both quite handy.


  1. Leaving aside the ghastly toll on human life, it is estimated that some 9 million horses died during WW1 and British agriculture was changed forever as a result. As someone who owned a horse all through childhood, I grieve for them as well and think of their suffering.

    There is going to be a wonderful stage play, War Horse, on in Australia next year, set in WW1. Spielberg has made a movie using real horses but I will never go to see that. Spielberg admitted that the brilliant way the horses are done on stage (using horse sized puppets) is more effective than his film.

    I would see that if I could, but it's unlikely to happen.

  2. Denis, I saw that stage play when we were living in London. At the end, I looked round the audience and there wasn't a single person I could see who wasn't weeping profusely. It's really not a play - more a highly sentimental piece of puppetry - but the way they manipulate the horse skeleton things is miraculous. I remember reading they were specially pleased when they cracked ear movements - and sure enough they had them perfectly. And I agree with you about thinking of the suffering of the horses. The story I read somewhere that Australian troops had to shoot many Whalers in Egypt or somewhere similar because they couldn't bring them home, for quarantine reasons, has always made me a bit unfond of the AQIS mob.