War horses of WW1’s bloody battle of Verdun honoured

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French reserves and their horses resting in a river on their way to Verdun. "They shall not pass" is a phrase which for all time will be associated with the heroic defense of Verdun.
French reserves and their horses resting in a river on their way to Verdun. “They shall not pass” is a phrase which will always be associated with the heroic defense of Verdun. Image from National Geographic magazine, p338, Vol 31, 1917.

World War One’s longest battle on the Western Front is being marked by a commemorative badge honouring the lives of millions of equines who died in the conflict.

Brooke Action for Working Horses and Donkeys has launched an Every Horse Remembered pin badge to mark the battle of Verdun, a clash that lasted almost 11 months, from February 21 to December 18, 1916.

The battle of Verdun was so bloody it was known as the ‘Meat Grinder’ in the trenches. Thousands of horses died in the battle, and on just one day 7000 were killed by shelling.

The commemorative badges depict the Every Horse Remembered logo and are available at thebrookeshop.org, giving supporters the chance to show they’re honouring the lives of war horses, and help working horses, donkeys and mules of today.

Brooke has also announced five new equestrian ambassadors for the campaign.

British event rider Harry Meade, dressage rider Alice Oppenheimer and international show jumper Laura Renwick join Hannah Russell and Little Alf the miniature Shetland, as well as US Instagram sensation Muledragger as Every Horse Remembered Ambassadors. The group will be promoting the campaign through social media, attending events and supporting specific fundraising initiatives through 2018.

A cavalry charge in WWI, with the soldiers wearing gas masks.
A cavalry charge in WWI, with the soldiers wearing gas masks. © Brooke USA

Every Horse Remembered highlights the heroic struggle of working horses, donkeys and mules of the past and present, and will build better lives for future generations.

Eight million horses died in WW1, 75% of them from the extreme conditions they worked in. Brooke’s founder Dorothy Brooke sought out many of the left over horses years later in Cairo, Egypt. Sold into a life of hard labour, many were walking skeletons by the time she found them.

She set up the Old War Horse Memorial, a legacy that evolved into Brooke, the largest working equine welfare charity in the world.

»  Every Horse Remembered pins are £3 + P&P.

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