Merseyside Police

Merseyside Police.

Merseyside Police has marked the first Purple Poppy Day, as part of its on-going programme to commemorate those who served in the First World War.

Delighted to be featured on the Merseyside Police website in a piece highlighting how the force have marked the first National Purple Poppy Day.

Merseyside Police and War Horse Memorial, have marked the first National Purple Poppy Day, with a visit to lay a wreath at a WW1 war horse’s grave in Liverpool.

Two serving police horses and officers, alongside representatives from War Horse Memorial and Brownie, eight year old Jess Edwards laid purple poppy wreaths at WW1 war horse, Blackie’s grave*.

The special day, which will become an annual event, will raise money for military and equine charities across the UK – and a lasting reminder to the service and sacrifice of horses, mules and donkeys in conflict. Jess, who is from Neston, Wirral came up with the idea to name the National War Horse monument, which was unveiled in Ascot, Berkshire, in June. Guides and Brownies across the UK unanimously chose Poppy.

Blackie’s grave was the first war horse grave to be given protection by Historic England, when it was granted Grade II heritage protection in 2017.

Merseyside Police has marked the first Purple Poppy Day, as part of its on-going programme to commemorate those who served in the First World War.

Emma Jones from Merseyside Police: “As part of my research into the Merseyside Police officers who served in WW1, I came across Blackie and Lieutenant Wall’s relationship and thought it was a fascinating story in our war history, and one that needed to be marked and remembered.

We use police horses in day to day policing with great effect and we know that the horses who served in WW1 played vital roles. Indeed, my research has shown that horses were irreplaceable during WW1 and have been described as the backbone of this war. It’s only right that we recognise the important role they played in serving our country.”

Alan Carr MBE, co-Founder of War Horse Memorial believes the decision by Merseyside Police to mark the Day with a visit to Blackie’s grave will be both special and poignant. He says : “Horses have served us well over the centuries and continue to do so as the wonderful mounted police of Merseyside prove daily. For us to be part of the commemorations here in Liverpool and to invited to see where the Blackie is buried is a wonderful tribute.

*War Horse, Blackie, who served and survived WW1, is thought to have been born around 1905 and served with the 275th Brigade Royal Field Artillery ‘A’ Battery – 55th West Lancashire Division during the First World War. He belonged to Lieutenant Leonard Comer Wall, a war poet from West Kirby, who in his will requested that if he did not survive the conflict, his horse should be buried with his medals and decorations.

Lieutenant Wall died at Ypres in June 1917 aged 20, and was riding Blackie at the time. Despite the horse’s injuries from the same incident, Blackie remained in service on the Western front for the rest of the war.

After the war Lieutenant Wall’s mother Kate brought Blackie back to England, making him one of only a small number of horses to return home. She lent him to the Territorial Riding School in Liverpool until he was retired to live at the Horses’ Rest in Halewood in 1930, where he remained until his death at the age of 37, in December 1942.

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