Armed Forces Day and Songster unveiled.
Saturday June 29th, 2019 is Armed Forces Day and a chance to show our support for the men and women who make up the Armed Forces community: from currently serving troops to Service families, veterans and cadets.
There are many ways for people, communities and organisations across the country to show their support, and in Loughborough they will mark the occasion by unveiling a sculpture of Leicestershire’s most famous war horse, Songster. His story is quite remarkable. In 1914, he was drafted into the Leicestershire Yeomanry, and was sent to France at the start of the War. He was 14 so was considered somewhat old and small for a war horse at the time. He was lucky to have been found again in France by his yeomanry rider, Bert Main, and then bought again at auction in London by those who were aware of his strength of character. That he survived so long was down to his ‘indomitable spirit’, the care and love he had, both in France and back again in England.
He returned home in 1919, became a local celebrity and was cared for by Sgt Major Harry Poole on his farm in Woodhouse Eaves. Mr Poole’s nephew John Poole, from Shepshed, described Songster as “artful as a barrel load of monkey’s because he was so crafty”. He explained: “He knew the trumpet calls when he was in France. When they sounded the one for horses for water, off he’d trot to get some water and then he’d come back all on his own and stand there waiting for his nose bag. He got an uncanny knack that he could untie himself from his peg, wander off and then come back when he wanted to.” In 1940 he collapsed near the Leicestershire farm and later died in his stable. The 40-year-old war horse was buried at the farm with the medal ribbons he had earned and there is an archive on Songster at the War Memorial Museum in Loughborough.
As you can see the statue of Songster is covered with the flag of the Leicestershire Yeomanry, and on Saturday it will be unveiled in Loughborough by the Mayor at 3.30pm in Queen’s Park next to the Carillion Tower. We are honoured to have been invited to attend and pay our own respects to such a remarkable animal and one that has be remembered by the people of Loughborough with such great affection.