November is almost over and all through the month Brandon Dodsworth has been fundraising for the Poppy Appeal. His project has focussed on the sacrifice of men and women in war. But in this video – which he has shared with War Horse Memorial – and special message, he remembers particularly the horses who also gave service. We believe this poem, ‘The Silent Volunteers’ written by Leonard Fleming honours that service.
Brandon believes the contribution of animals during the First World War is often underestimated and overlooked. He explains; “Horses, and a variety of other animals, played a key role on both sides of the trenches. During the early stages of the war, the majority of the conflict was cavalry based, but as trench warfare evolved and more modern weapons were developed, horses still played a crucial role in transporting supplies and artillery. Horses were more efficient at working in the muddy conditions on the battlefields, but many consequently died in the horrific environment of the Western Front.
We must never forget that it is estimated around eight million horses lost their lives during the war, alongside countless donkeys, mules, dogs, cats and canaries.”