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.
Moorland Close Farm, the birthplace of Fletcher Christian and St. Bridgets church where he was christened.
A bootprint, initialed FC, in the lead flashing of the summer house pictured above, is reputed to be that of Fletcher Christian. Mel Gibson visited the farm in the 1980s when making ‘The Bounty’. I believe he clambered up on to the summer house to take a look at the bootprint.
The white foal in the first photo kept a curious eye on me at all times. A pleasure to see … it made my day.
© Simon Howlett 2017. All rights reserved
Wishing you all the very best in 2017 and a big thank you for your continued support.
A prehistoric hill figure some 360 feet long, it dominates the landscape. An Iron Age hillfort is located at the summit and the Ridgeway, Britain’s oldest road, passes close by. Wayland’s Smithy, a Neolithic chambered long barrow, is located a mile away. Places I’ve loved and explored since childhood.
© Simon Howlett 2016. All rights reserved
Westbury White Horse on a blustery day. Visited this location a number of times and was fortunate to see these kite flyers. They’d passed by earlier but I missed the opportunity to photograph them. Couldn’t believe my luck a little later when I saw the kite appear over the hill followed by its owners.
The white horse was cut in the hillside 300 years ago and the adjacent Iron Age hill fort was established 2000 years ago.
© Simon Howlett 2016. All rights reserved
A Bronze Age white horse I’ve cycled to on many occasions from Brize Norton during my childhood in the 1970s. On a clear day the blue aircraft hangar at RAF Brize Norton can be seen from this spot.
Fay Godwin made a series of photographs here and at Wayland’s Smithy in the 1970s. Unfortunately I never met her during my numerous cycling trips to the area.
St George is said to have slain the dragon on the lower slopes to the left of this photo. Grass no longer grows on top of Dragon Hill where the dragon’s blood was spilled.
© Simon Howlett 2015. All rights reserved
Was photographing the seascape when these horses galloped right behind me. Silecroft is a beautiful location with a huge expanse of beach to explore; it was magnificent watching these horses thunder by.
© Simon Howlett 2014. All rights reserved
This horse had disappeared round the other side of the rocks but came back to me as I set up my camera on a tripod. Seemed to like my company! Later in the day I saw a foal in the adjacent field 🙂 The fell Blencathra can be seen in the distance.
© Simon Howlett 2013. All rights reserved
This photo was not planned; it was shot during a serendipitous moment when these horses galloped right past me. Taken at Silecroft in Cumbria one evening, my camera was set up on a tripod for long exposure shots when I noticed the horses and a dog in the surf. Hoping they would come my way I was not to be disappointed. The two riders briefly spoke to one another and shortly afterwards the horses set off on their run. The low evening sun seemed to throw a spotlight on them, picking out their impressive features. The wall behind the horses along with the bands of sand and stone provided a great backdrop.
© Simon Howlett 2012. All rights reserved