Every horse remembered 2021

Eight million horses, donkeys and mules died in World War I from shellfire and gas attacks, freezing mud, exhaustion, and mud-borne and respiratory diseases.

Following the success of 2018’s year-long Every Horse Remembered campaign, each November Brooke takes time to honour and reflect on the heroic struggle of working horses, donkeys and mules of the past and present, and help build better lives for future generations.

Eight million horses, donkeys and mules died in WW1, not only from fierce shellfire and gas attacks but also from the extreme conditions they had to endure. From the freezing mud on the Western Front to the overbearing heat of Egypt, the environments they worked in took many lives.

When our founder, Dorothy Brooke went searching for these forgotten heroes, she found walking skeletons working as beasts of burden, their hard labour keeping people in Cairo out of poverty. Supported by the generosity of the British public she was able to establish the Old War Horse Memorial Hospital, where Brooke’s story began. Dorothy Brooke’s legacy flourished into the most far-reaching and effective equine welfare charity in the world today.

It’s a devastating truth that horses, donkeys and mules still have to endure conditions like these every day. From the searing heat of brick kilns, to icy and treacherous mountains and rivers, these animals are working, supporting the lives of people around the world.  

before the war

When war broke out in 1914, the British Army had around 25,000 horses in its ranks and knew that it would need many more. Thousands of animals were drafted in. But in the early 20th Century working equines in Britain fulfilled a variety of jobs. What jobs might they have left behind? Read our new blog; ‘How Working Horses Shaped Britain'

Horses at war

  • The UK government purchased horses from Australia, Argentina, USA and Canada.
  • Many horses died on the sea journey from America because a horse cannot vomit and seasickness kills them.
  • Horses on the Western Front were provided masks that were effective against chlorine gas.

Read more facts about WWI horses