Caroline and Toby


In recent months I’ve begun to collect photographs from the Great War. One subject I’m concentrating on is portraits of soldiers with their horses. Above is Corporal Winder with Toby and below Gunner Griffiths with Caroline.

Many of these photographs do not come with information about the soldier or horse so I particularly like these two. Corporal Winder served with the 17th Lancers on the Western Front and Gunner Griffiths served with the Royal Artillery.

These portraits fascinate me. I find it remarkable they’re still with us, truly indicating how precious a photograph is and its lasting impact on successive generations.

More than 1 million horses and mules served with the British Army during the Great War. Mainly used as cavalry in the initial stages of the war horses became increasingly required for artillery and logistical support. To keep up with demand, horses were sourced from Australia, Argentina, America and Canada as well as being bought from British citizens. As a result of quarantine restrictions only one Australian horse named Sandy ever returned home.


© 2018

9 thoughts on “Caroline and Toby

    • I agree, the photos give us a fascinating glimpse into their lives. The Corporal Winder and Toby photo came with a number of other photos and correspondence written to his brother – a wonderful insight into his life and service during the war.

  1. I thought it was tragic that they involved animals so heavily in human conflict – can’t reconcile myself to it at all. And so many animals were just abandoned in poor countries afterwards, e.g. Egypt, where they slowly were worked and starved to death. Horrible when you consider what they’d done for us.

    That was how the Brook Hospital for Animals came about – a lady back then trying to raise funds for rescuing old war horses from Egypt. It then turned into a Veterinary Charity for all working equines, starting in Egypt and spreading all over parts of the Middle East and Africa. I’ve been a supporter for years now…

  2. These old photographs are indeed fascinating. They show so much about the old lifestyle, and in this case the military. Makes us think about the photos we capture today that may seem mundane. How will the be received hundre years from now?

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