Research

Lightly wounded Scottish soldiers being brought to a dressing station by mule in Salonika, 1918. © IWM (Q 31798).
WarMule Fri, 14/03/2014 - 04:43

Lathom and Burscough Military Military Heritage Society

Lord Lathom offered his ancestral home of Lathom Park was some fifteen miles from Liverpool, his trustees offered with his consent, the Hall & Parklands free of charge to the War Department should no other suitable location be forthcoming nearer to that city. That offer was to be accepted, thus Canada Dock Liverpool along with the ’landing stage’ became the focal point for importation of horses and mules in the North of England. Later to be followed by Bristol with the Avonmouth Depot and in 1915 Southampton with the depot located at Romsey. Horses from Canada initially, America, Ireland, Argentina were aquired by remount agents of the British Government. Transported by cargo ship across the Atlantic hoping to evade the German U Boat threat, this was indeed a perilous journey packed into the holds of ships unaware when U Boat torpedo would strike. It is an unfortunate fact that many horses and ships crews perished with there valuable cargo’s Horses were transported by rail from Liverpool into Ormskirk Station goods yard. After unloading they were ‘drove on the hoof’ down Derby Street and through the country lanes of Lathom exiting out of Cranes Lane into Lathom Park.

Source: Richard Houghton
Lathom and Burscough Military Military Heritage Society

Minehead, Somerset: Wagonloads of Mules

In the early weeks and months of the conflict it became obvious that men and weapons wouldn’t be enough to wage a ‘modern’ war in Northern Europe. The government knew that food, munitions and a whole array of supplies would have to be transported quickly and efficiently. Equines were the answer. Tough, resilient and used to carrying weight, draught animals were needed in enormous numbers. It meant a new role not just for the military’s own horses and ponies or those requisitioned from owners in the UK, but also animals imported from overseas. So mules from the Americas found their way to the seaside town of Minehead.

Source: BBC World War at Home

Romsey War Horse Project

Between 1915 and 1919 there was a large Remount Depot on the west of Romsey on Pauncefoot Hill. Where nearly 120,000 were received and prepared for duties in war, mainly in France.The camp needed about 2100 men plus civilian assistants to manage the horses with their needs such as feeding, bedding, training and shipment. After the war the camp was dismantled and is now largely forgotten in the area.

Source: Pete Chapman and Simon Pearce
Romsey War Horse Project

Swaythling Remout Depot

From August 1914, the vast Swaythling Remount Depot was constructed at North Stoneham Park and Bassett, on the edge of Southampton, to collect, sort, and supply horses and mules for war service. It was one of the four principal remount depots in England; the others were at Romsey (also for Southampton), Shirehampton (for Avonmouth), and Ormskirk (for Liverpool). The Swaythling Remount Depot was the centre from which nearly all horses and mules from England were given a 'final overhauling' and dispatched across the Channel to France. At the end of the war, the Depot also received the returning animals.

Source: The Willis Fleming Historical Trust
Swaythling Remount Depot

The Forgotten Army

They were with the British Expeditionary Force from the very start. They were with the British Expeditionary Force at the very end. They served at the Front, in the rear and in the support lines. They stumbled through the hell of no-man's land, closely following every British and Commonwealth push. In the mud, rain and terror of the trenches they supplied their comrades with food, water and ammunition, even though they themselves were starved, sodden and spent. They died in their thousands.

Source: firstworldwar.com

University of Bristol

Shirehampton Remount Depot was one of the largest remount depots in the country and supplied horses and mules to the Frontline during the First World War. A project led by Peter Insole, Archaeologist at the University of Bristol, is being unearthed to search for artefacts and undertake a geographical survey of the area of the site.

Source: Press release issued: 13 March 2013
University of Bristol

We will remember

So many men, mules and horses have died throughout the centuries in war - on all sides; we remember and pay tribute to all those lost souls. In the Great War (1914-1918) where over 8 million horses, mules and donkeys fought alongside their humans, only 60,000 returned; 16 million soldiers and civilians died.

Source: The Three Muleteers

Who were the real war horses of WW1

During the conflict the British Army deployed more than a million horses and mules. There weren't enough horses in Britain to meet demand, so over 1,000 horses a week were shipped from North America, where there was a plentiful supply of half-wild horses on the open plains.

Source: BBC Who were the real war horses of WW1

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