Have any of you seen the recent film The War Horse, based on Michael Morpurgo’s brilliant novel? I still haven’t worked up the courage to go and see it because I know it will upset me too much. The main reason is that not long ago I researched and wrote the true story of New Zealand’s very own war horse, Bess.
During World War One, New Zealand sent over 10,000 horses to fight in the war. But unlike the war horses in the film, most of our horses were sent to the Middle East to fight in the desert. They took the men into battle and had to face searing heat, thirst, hunger, and weariness but they never failed their masters. Of all the horses that served throughout the entire war in the Middle East, only one came home. Her name was Bess.
I read many of the diaries and letters of the soldiers, called Mounted Riflemen, who rode, lived, and sometimes died with their horses and it was very moving. They became very attached to their horses because they shared so much. I’ve heard the film is moving too; did any of you see it?