Horse memorial should be considered in Esquimalt

The recent front page photo of the First World War German cannon in Memorial Park has a big horse-shaped space in it.

Re: War trophies recall army past (News, Feb. 12)

The recent front page photo of Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins and Mike Reed of Esquimalt Public Works with the First World War German cannon in Memorial Park has a big horse-shaped space in it.

I see a chance for Esquimalt to join the group of cities that have recognized animals who have died because they were used in our wars.

The military mainly used horses for pulling during the war, though zoo elephants were dragooned as well.

Horses were better at getting through deep mud and over rough ground than were motorized vehicles and were used for reconnaissance, carrying messengers and for pulling field kitchens, ammunition wagons and artillery like the guns in Memorial Park. Six to 12 horses pulled each gun.

Hundreds of thousands of horses were killed in artillery fire and injured by poison gas during the First World War, and those who were treated in veterinary hospitals were sent back to the front to face unbearable conditions there.

In one year, 120,000 horses were treated for wounds or disease by British veterinary hospitals alone.

Horse war memorials have been erected in many cities, possibly the first at St Jude on the Hill, Hampstead, in 1926.

Minnesota, Australia and the United Kingdom have Animals in War memorials, while Canada erected a similar memorial in Confederation Park in Ottawa two years ago. I’m pleased to have contributed in a small way to helping it move forward.

Many of the 715,000 horses used by German forces died of starvation and many more of disease and exhaustion, and more than 375,000 horses were taken from German-occupied French territory, and 140,000 from Ukraine, their lives on farms and in racing suddenly brutalized in military service.

Horse deaths were notably high during battles of attrition. The 1916 Battle of Verdun was one such battle between French and German forces; one day in March of that year, 7,000 horses were killed by long-range shelling on both sides, including 97 killed by a single shot from a French naval gun.

When the war ended, many horses were sent to slaughter as a reward for their endurance and compliance.

More were killed because they were sick or no longer young, and the remainder went into often harsh servitude with locals for what remained of their lives.

I hope the Township of Esquimalt would be interested in commemorating the horses whose lives were connected with the cannons in Memorial Park. I am sure community and support from across Canada for the initiative would be forthcoming.

Diane McNally

Victoria

 

 

 

Just Posted

Esquimalt requests public feedback as it plans for plastic bag ban

An online survey aims to gather information before the ban comes into effect in January 2020

Rain with a high of 16 C for Tuesday

Plus your weekly forecast

Canada Women’s Rugby 7s Team land at home after series triumph

Next stop at Langford offers Olympic qualification

Castaway Wanderers men, women advance to B.C. semifinals

Castaway Wanderers men trounce UVic 59-29 in playoffs

PHOTOS: Green Party Leader Elizabeth May says ‘I do’ on Earth Day

May and John Kidder got married Monday morning in Victoria

Easter bombings a response to New Zealand attacks, says Sri Lanka minister

The Islamic State group asserted it was responsible for the nine bombings

New commemorative loonie marking ‘progress’ for LGBTQ2 people to be unveiled today

But advocates say it mistakenly suggests equality has been achieved largely as a result of government actions

B.C. VIEWS: NDP’s lawyer show is turning into a horror movie

Court actions pile up over pipelines, car insurance, care aides

United Way opens grants to help charities tackle social issues

Charities north of the Malahat can apply for grants $2,000 to $20,000

POLL: How often does your family use BC Ferries?

Navigating the lineups for BC Ferries is a way of life for… Continue reading

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of April 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Sri Lanka invokes war-time military powers after nearly 300 killed in Easter bombings

Sri Lanka’s minister of tourism says 39 foreign tourists were killed in the Easter Sunday attacks

Man’s body found in popular Cowichan Valley hiking area

Police say death not suspicious after discovery in Stoney Hill area overlooking Saltspring Island

Most Read