THE courage of horses on first world war battlefields and the home front has been commemorated.
More than 3,500 people visited the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum in Singleton to watch displays for a weekend event – Horses at War.
The event marked 100 years since the outbreak of the first world war and attracted £9,000 of funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to make the event possible.
“We were really thrilled with the event,” said a spokeswoman for the museum.
“Unfortunately the storm on Saturday morning lowered our attendance as people re-planned their day, thinking the whole day would be a wash-out when, in fact, the storm was short-lived.
“However, Sunday was a beautiful day and our overflow car parks were filled very quickly.
“The Military Ancestry Road Show (MARS) had the busiest show ever this year. Many members of the local community had turned out in force with medals, photos, war records and other items for MARS’ panel of experts to identify.”
There were displays from the 16th Lancers display troops who recreated the first world war British cavalry, horse-drawn agricultural and commercial vehicles.
One visitor said the event gave them a ‘real insight into field hospital and recruitment’.
Another visitor described the show as ‘incredible’ and praised the decision of the Heritage Lottery Fund for putting money towards something they ‘and so many others enjoyed so much’.
Around the site was a recreated field kitchen and demonstrations of charcoal-burning, hurdle-making for trench warfare and forestry.
The event struck a chord with museum director Richard Pailthorpe, who said he was going to bring letters his great-uncle wrote in the trenches to the event to find out about his war service and where he is buried.