This is a famous painting with a poem that also belongs to it, but this is what I saw in this beautiful picture.
Such was the use of horses on the Western Front, that over 8 million died on all sides fighting in the war. Two and a half million horses were treated in veterinary hospitals with about two million being sufficiently cured that they could return to duty. Toward the end of the war tactics were starting to change, although horses were still used in Cavalry charges they were no longer viable, in one charge out of 150 horses only 3 survived, the rest were mown down by machine gun fire.
My book World War One in Verse is available, I will donate 50% of my royalties to the RBL.
Goodbye old friend, you’ve served me well;
you did your job throughout this hell.
Exhausted – now you’re lying here;
within your eyes I see the fear.
My pal is calling…let him go,
he’ll never learn, he’ll never know
how dire it is to lose a friend,
but I’ll stay with you to the end.
And if the Hun should come before
you’ve breathed your last in this damn war,
then, so be it, I’ll die with you,
for loyal friends must see it through
Until the end, when we’ll be seen
as one – once more on England’s green
and pleasant land for which we fought,
to plough God’s fields as we were taught.
I hear the bullets whizzing by,
the screaming men, the battle cry.
You lift your head to shield my heart,
and bullets tear your neck apart.
I hold you tight with bloodied hand,
I try to rise, I try to stand.
I feel the shrapnel from the shell–
Goodbye old friend, you served me well.
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