Remembering the real war horses
This month, Michael Morpurgo’s hugely successful War Horse story moves from page to stage to exhibition at the National Army Museum in London.
To support the upcoming War Horse: Fact & Fiction exhibition, the Brooke, will be lending items from its archive.
Opening on 22 October 2011, War Horse: Fact & Fiction is a hands-on interactive exhibition for all the family; exploring the compelling real-life stories of the horses and the men who depended on them.
These stories will be illustrated through the Museum's rich collection, plus exclusive material from the Brooke, Michael Morpurgo, the National Theatre and the Stephen Spielberg-directed film War Horse, encouraging visitors to think about the millions of war horses who have supported the British Army across time.
“With the huge success of the book and stage play War Horse, and the impending release of the film, it’s timely to remember the thousands of horses, donkeys and mules who served gallantly in times of conflict,” said Petra Ingram, chief executive of the Brooke. “We are delighted to be involved in this historic project.”
After the first world war, thousands of horses from the British, Australian and American forces were sold into a life of hard labour in Egypt. In 1930 Dorothy Brooke arrived in Egypt with her brigadier husband and went looking for many of these war horses, being used as beasts of burden on the streets of Cairo.
Dorothy wrote to The Morning Post (now The Daily Telegraph) exposing their plight and the UK public were so moved, they raised enough money to help 5,000 animals. Aware many more working horses needed help, Dorothy set up the Brooke Hospital for Animals in 1934 and the ‘Old War Memorial Hospital’ in Cairo was born.
From its humble beginnings, the Brooke has grown into an international lifesaver, working in poor communities across Africa, Asia and Latin America. It is dedicated to improving the lives of working horses, donkeys and mules through free veterinary treatment and community programs and this year will reach more than one million animals.
"War Horse: Fact & Fiction gives the Museum the opportunity to celebrate Michael Morpurgo’s book and tell the true stories of war horses from across time,” said National Army Museum Director Janice Murray.
“The items generously being lent to us by the Brooke have been vital in helping us to tell of the treatment of the war horse beyond conflict and the legacy for working horses around the world today."