Manx National Heritage welcomes Andrew Robertshaw BA MA PGCE to present his lecture ‘The Real War Horses: Horse Power, Logistics and Transport 1914-18’ at the Manx Museum on Friday 24th October.
Andrew Robertshaw’s expertise in the field led him on to be the military consultant for the feature film ‘War Horse’ directed by Steven Spielberg. He was formerly the Curator and Manager of The Royal Logistic Corps Museum in Deepcut and Head of Education at The National Army Museum in London and is now Director of Battlefield Partnerships Ltd. They are currently preparing for two archaeological projects on the Western Front. Andrew has regularly made TV appearances, most recently working on episodes of ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’, ‘Find My Past’ and ‘Time Team’.
Within the lecture Andrew examines the contribution made by horses, mules and donkeys to the British army’s war effort on the Western Front. When war began in 1914 the British army possessed a mere 25,000 horses. The War Office was given the urgent task of sourcing a further half million to go into battle.
The Ramsey Courier on Friday 14th August 1914, reports the War Office sending a requisition to the Insular Government for the supply of a hundred horses from the Isle of Man for military purposes. Horses were requisitioned from all over the Island, including those from the stables of the Douglas Corporation and two horses owned by the ‘Steam Packet Company’. Horses were brought to Ramsey for dispatch to England by steamer. Sadly, many faithful animals were wounded or killed in the battlefields and never came home.
‘Imp’ a much loved horse of Canadian breed, was however happily returned to the Isle following the First World War. After his military career in the battlefields of France, Imp finally found rest at the Glencrutchery Children’s Home. Imp’s companion ‘Baby’ purchased at the same time, was also pensioned in a field owned by the Tramway’s Committee.
The lecture is part of the Manx National Heritage 2014 programme to commemorate the First World War in conjunction with the exhibition This Terrible Ordeal at the Manx Museum. One very special object in the exhibition is a horse shoe belonging to a war horse named ‘Molly’. Before the war Molly worked for fruit and veg merchants Dale and Colvin, a family business based on the North Quay in Douglas. She also returned to the Isle following the war, and when Molly eventually passed, her shoe was hung at the entrance to the warehouse to bring good luck.
Andrew Robertshaw’s lecture ‘The Real War Horses’ will take place at the Manx Museum on Friday 24th October 7.30pm start, doors open at 7pm. Tickets are £10 available from the Manx Museum Gallery Shop and online. A 10% discount is available to members and ACE cardholders, places are limited so please purchase in advance to avoid disappointment.
Image: ‘Imp’ the War Horse – photographed in the Isle of Man Times, 3rd October 1936, page 10