The “Four-Footed Fighters” Of World War I

world war I

This feature on the “Four-Footed Fighters” of World War I, first appeared in our November 20, 1916 issue.

I spotted it on a recent trip to our Archives. What a great story!

I thought it was definitely worth sharing in the week of Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day.

“Among the pets and animal friends of our fighting men at the Front there is one that occupies pride of place in the devotion and affection of all…for the horse he has a whole-hearted respect and affection which have developed into a loving comradeship.

“One of the officers of the Coldstream Guards told a remarkable story bearing this out.

“He says:- ‘After fierce fighting at Loos it was noticed that there was a horse standing between the firing lines. For two days he remained there, then some of our men crawled out and found that he was standing by the dead body of his rider and would not leave the spot.

“’The horse itself was unharmed. Later on some of our men very bravely arranged to get out to the horse again, blindfolded him, and brought him back to our lines. By no other means could we persuade the faithful beast to leave its dead master.’”

Saved by a warning neigh

“Trooper S. Stanley, of the Scots Greys, tells as follows the story of how his mount saved his life:-

“’I was on outpost duty at a lonely spot, and though I could not hear or see anything the animal kept neighing and betraying signs of restlessness. I got down, and came on a German crouching in the long grass. He had a sword bayonet, and evidently meant to take me unawares, and then the post would have been rushed. I did not wait to ask his intentions, but I let him have a ticket for another country. His yells brought his mates down, but I got away, and the row alarmed the guard and spoiled their attempt at surprising us. You bet, the old nag had a special feed that night.’”

Look back at Lucy’s feature on remembering the animals of World War I by clicking here.

For more from “The People’s Friend” archives, click the tag below.

Lucy Crichton

Fiction Editor Lucy is always on the look-out for the very best short stories, poems and pocket novels. As well as sourcing enjoyable content, she enjoys working with our established contributors, encouraging new talent, and celebrating 155 years of 'Friend' fiction!