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Friday, September 12, 2014

Fantastic tribute to the horses that were sent to World War One battlefields

Don’t miss the fabulous ‘War Horse Heroes’ showcase which opens at the Chapel Gallery in Ormskirk on Saturday 13 September. 

The showcase pays tribute to horses that played a vital role on the World War One battlefields and the centre in West Lancashire where many were trained. 

The plight of horses used during the war has been dramatised in the film and stage play War Horse, based on Michael Morpurgo’s book of the same name.

During the First World War, as thousands of soldiers were prepared for conflict, here in West Lancashire horses were trained to play their part at Lathom Park, which was turned into a Remount Depot. 

Lathom Park was used throughout the war, and between August 1914 and November 1, 1917, 215,300 horses were brought to Lathom. Of these, 210,800 were sent into active service. A number were sent to the front or to reserve depots in the UK. Some would have been used by the cavalry, while others would have been trained in harness to pull wagons or artillery guns. 

The War Horse Heroes showcase, which runs until 1 November 2014, acknowledges the vital role that Lathom Park played in the war effort and serves as a poignant reminder that heroes can be found in the most unlikely of places. 

Chapel Gallery staff have obtained a superb collection of archive texts, poetry and photographs for this exhibition. There are photos of horses on the battlefield and training for the frontline showing what they and their human partners had to go through during the war. Some of the poetry really captures the mood of one of the darkest periods in our nation’s history. 

A significant amount of material and advice has been provided by Susan and David Dunn from Lathom Park Trust. The showcase particularly draws on their text Horses for the War, a unique text that has uncovered many previously lost facts relating to the Remount Depot. The book is published by Lathom Park Trust and more details on about the publication can be found at Lathom Park Trust (external link)

Paul Kenyon, also of Lathom Park Trust, will be providing a free talk at the Chapel Gallery, on Saturday 18 October at 3.30pm. The talk will focus on the Lathom Remount Depot and the Horses for the War book mentioned above.

Material has been sourced from a variety of other sources places, including archive articles found at Ormskirk Library, photographs provided by the National Railway Museum and VISIT Sefton and West Lancs. 

Councillor David Sudworth, portfolio holder for Leisure, said: “We are really grateful to Susan and David Dunn from the Lathom Park Trust for their help in organising this showcase. With 2014 being the 100th anniversary of the start of World War One, this really is a great display for people to visit and learn more about Lathom Park’s role in the war and the horses that were trained there. So don’t miss it.” 

West Lancashire artist, Sandie Henderson, is also contributing to the showcase with a collection of her sensitive equine sculptures, prints and paintings.

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