THERE FROM THE START

They fought together, rested together and died together.

A new book about the Great War horses and the drivers who looked after them. This captivating and moving account follows an englishman named Edwin Clark who became a driver in the Canadian Field Artillery and spent three and a half years at the front trying to care for the war horses under impossible conditions.

ISBN: 978-1094956763 151 pages b&w photos and maps.

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The men depended on the horses as much the horses depended on the men. They were in it together. They fought together, rested together and died together. The strong bond between man and horse was shared by both sides in the conflict whether Canadian, English, German, American or French.

Extract From Book

They docked at the port of Le Havre at dawn and disembarked in a heavy drizzle. Edwin and the other drivers were ordered to remove the horses from their cramped stalls. Unloading restless and frightened horses was a long, tedious and dangerous operation and once on dry land they had to be fed and watered. Then Edwin and his comrades had their breakfast. Edwin had arrived in France, safe and sound, four months after arriving in England, fully trained to meet the enemy at the western front. And meeting the enemy was going to come sooner than probably any of them expected as they were ordered to head straight for Belgium and the bitter fighting in the trenches.

They hooked up their teams and were given the order to “walk march” through the streets of Le Havre to a huge rest camp on the outskirts consisting of rows of huts and tents and field kitchens. It was noted in the WD that a very unlucky Sergeant Gailer was killed during the train journey when he fell out of an open door of a carriage – their first casualty of their war in France. They had lunch, groomed the horses and cleaned the harnesses, but had little chance to rest as they were on the move again and ordered to march to Le Havre railway station. Horses, guns, forage and equipment had to be loaded again with eight horses per freight car – 4 horses at each end with heads facing the centre and the men lounging between them. The guns were roped down and transported on flat carriages. They were on their way to the front in a hurry and I can only imagine how nervous Edwin must have been. They were to face an arduous train journey and long marches over several days to reach their destination in Belgium.