WWI Horses

First Ever Grave For A War Horse Given Special Status

The move comes as part of Historic England’s celebration of unusual historical listings. ...

WWI Horses

The first ever grave for a military warhorse has been given heritage protection as part of Historic England’s celebration of unusual historical listings.

The grave in Halewood, Merseyside, is one of more than 1,000 historical sites given heritage protection this year.

The grave commemorates Blackie, a valiant war horse who served in most of the major battles of the First World War including Arras, the Somme Offensive and Ypres, where he suffered severe shrapnel wounds.

The monument has been given special status, alongside "acoustic mirrors" which were used for detecting aircraft before radar.

It is estimated that around eight million horses were killed as a result of World War One, a conflict in which they played a vital role.

Blackie is thought to have been born in 1905 and served with the 275th Brigade Royal Field Artillery 'A' Battery - 55th West Lancashire Division during the war.

He belonged to Lieutenant Leonard Comer Wall, a war poet from Kirby.

Wall requested in his will that if he did not survive the conflict, his faithful horse should be buried with his medals and decorations.

Lieutenant Wall was killed at Ypres in June 1917 aged 20 and was riding Blackie at the time.

War Horses

Against all the odds, Blackie survived and remained in service on the Western front for the rest of the war.

After the war, Lieutenant Wall's mother brought Blackie back to England as one of only a small number of war horses to return home.

She lent him to the Territorial Riding School in Liverpool until he was retired to live at the Horses' Rest in Halewood in 1930

He remained there until his death at the age of 37, in December 1942.

Historic England said:

"Blackie's death received press coverage across Britain, from the local Liverpool Daily Post to the Gloucester Citizen, Portsmouth Evening News, and Dundee Evening Telegraph."

However, the charity War Horse Memorial, which supports infantrymen and their horses, and will unveil its own memorial next year, said the decision was overdue; chief executive Alan Carr said:

“It’s been 100 years since the end of the First World War.

"Recognition of the part horses played had been long overdue. This warhorse grave will go some way to redress the balance.”

Historic England said although there are other war horse graves in England, it had no plans to recognise any others at present.