W.W.I Horse ~ The role of horse in World War One

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Role Of Horse

Summer 1914

Deployment 1914

Mons 1914

Fighting Retreat

Elouges 1914

Road to Flanders

1st Battle of Ypres

Requisition 1915

Somme 1916

German East
Africa 1917

Beersheba 1917

Build up 1917

Cambria 1917

Damascus 1918

Armistice 1918

The photo shows Fort Garry Horse passing through Epehy on November 30th 1917. At the head of the squadron rides Lieutenant Strachan who gained the Victoria Cross during a cavalry charge at Masnierers, near Cambrai on November 20th 1917.

The confused fighting followed  the German counter attack describe by Brigadier-General Jack Seely.

The Canadian Cavalry Brigade went forward after the German counter attack and tried to save the British right flank. The Royal Canadian Dragoons managed to get to the thick fringe of wood unobserved, then they galloped the ridge.

Some of the horses were caught in the wire, but the rest got over, we managed to drive a deep wedge into the German force. I had seen the regiment suffer heavy casualties in taking these positions, so I knew that there could not be more than 200 left.

Then followed 2 really desperate days & nights with vicious fighting until we were relieved by Coldstream Guards. I got onto my horse, a very good looking bay, in order to ride around the position at dusk and make sure my men had been withdrawn and the position taken by our successors. I was making my way when my horse was shot in the neck.

He fell like a stone onto my left side. They pulled the poor horse off me and I managed to gain another mount, although it took some weeks before the pain in my arm went away.

Our losses had been really heavy, but there was not a single grumble. They knew very well that they had done a fine thing and been really useful in a moment of great disaster. Early next morning, in a thick snow storm we rode away to refit.

The disaster to us (the Allies) in that area was complete. The Germans bit off the whole of the salient which we had formed. One thing is certain, but for the swift arrival of the cavalry the disaster would have been far, far greater

Source "I was there" magazine (1930).