This is the extraordinary and deeply moving true story of the million British horses who served in the ‘Great War’. It is told using rare archive and testimony, combined with the latest historical research. The story begins with the mass call up of horses from every farm and country estate in the land. Brough Scott evokes the world of Downton Abbey as he tells the tale of his aristocratic grandfather Jack Seely and his beloved horse Warrior. He would become the most famous horse of the war, renowned for his amazing courage.
The British army hoped their illustrious cavalry regiments would win a swift victory, but it would be years before they enjoyed their moment of glory. Instead in a new era of mechanised trench warfare it was the heavy horses transporting guns, ammunition and food to the front line troops who were most important. Tragically a quarter of a million of these horses died from shrapnel wounds and disease. But the deep bond that developed between man and horse helped both survive the hell of the Somme and Passchendaele. Behind the lines an army of vets worked miracles to treat injured horses and keep them going.
The finest hour of the cavalry came in spring 1918 when – led by the warhorse Warrior – they broke through the German lines and helped win the war. But there was further heartache for the horses when the war came to an end. 85,000 of the oldest were sold for horse meat. Half a million were sold to French farmers to help rebuild the countryside. Only 60,000 made it back to Britain. Six black horses that survived the war together would pull the body of the unknown warrior to its last resting place in Westminster Abbey. But the most famous war horse of all to return in glory was Warrior. His story, like the million other British horses who served, should never be forgotten.
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Produced by Testimony Films