This immaculate red leather bound catalogue was from the last London Hackney Show at The Agricultural Hall and with the start of The Great War of 1914 it is unfortunate that many of the great Hackneys within these pages would have been recruited and exported for military service and many lost in combat.
At the beginning of World war 1 in June 1914 the British Army owned 25,000 horses. This was not considered enough so with great haste in the following two weeks a further 165,000 were either donated ,bought for low value or compulsary recruited throughout the British Isles, many of these would have been Hackneys .This high demand military breed were exported in early war years to Japan, USA, South Africa,Brazil, Russia, Spain and Italy,as stallions to improve their own military stock . Here in the UK horses aged three to twelve were trained as rapidly as possible by British soldiers called 'roughriders'. When they were ready the horses were formed into squadrons and sent to the Western Front where in all 800,00 horses and mules served .The British Army discovered they needed to buy about 15,000 horses a month to maintain the number they needed. It has been calculated that almost half a million horses owned by the British Army were killed during the First World War, 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.
The figures could have been worse were it not for the sterling work of the Veterinary Corps (in 1918 they were given the 'Royal' prefix in recognition of their efforts)
"It is fitting and proper that praise and honor should be lavished on the armies of the victorious nations yet in doing so we should not forget to render the need of praise due the hundreds of thousands of horses and mules that died nobly in the cause of humanity.