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Re: Disposal of Horses at the end of WWI


Rob,

I am not sure how far you have got in your research.
May I ask what you believe to be the answers or estimates to the questions below;

1 How many were destroyed.
2 How many men shot their own horses.

I also know you have a firm opinion on the actual number of horses sent abroad during the war that differs from the often quoted figure.

I have a strong interest in the history of the Australian Light Horse in the Great War. I must have over 100 books on this subject- and have read them all. But still I have not come any closer to finding specific details about the disposal of the horses at the end of the war.

Would you like to provide an update
I am not intent on nailing you to the cross on your answers.
I am just interested!

Regards
Geoff S
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Re: Disposal of Horses at the end of WWI


The number of horses in use at the end of WWI was approximately 13500. My research indicated the number destriyed to be about 2500. As Kate pointed out many pages ago, the AWM says 2000, so I would accept that figure without too much arguement. I have never been able to confirm the destruction of any horses by their owners, however the AWM suggests 250 that were destroyed illegally (or at least outside of regulations). If those figure is proveable(?)that means [sign in to see URL]% of the total were destroyed by their owners and 14.8% were destroyed overall. THese figures are a long way short of the numbers needed to indicate that it was normal procedure.

One wonders if the Brooke incident is similar to many of the cases that we read about today. THe Palm Island situation has hit the headlines in Brisbane and is causing a lot of comment and there was a case of station horses being destroyed in Central Australia that was mentioned to me recently. The Arabs may be no worse than Australians at looking after their horse?
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Re: Disposal of Horses at the end of WWI


Thanks Rob - that is very interesting

I just checked the 4th L.H. Bde history- by Nutting
At Tripoli 667 horses were destroyed, 150 prior to classification (illegal I suppose??) and 517 after classification. It also mentions that a large number of horses were handed over to the Imperial Army at Tripoli for the 5th Cavalry.

Have you thought about checking the numbers/records from the British side of the deal. I assume there is a unit history for the 5th Cavalry Division. Perhaps it identifies how many horses it received from the departing Aussies & Enzeds in 1919?

Do you have an estimate of the total number of horses shipped abroad during the war- I have recently seen 169,000 quoted- How far short is the figure?

And have you heard of horses being sent from South America to the Middle East in the War?


Regards
Geoff S
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Re: Disposal of Horses at the end of WWI


169,000 may be a little high. The Seretary, Department of Defence, in a leter dated [sign in to see URL] to the Director of Remounts says " It is indeed gratifying to recall that the Remount Department arranged the supply of no less than 150,000 horses...." THe Official History states that "In all 39,348 horses were shipped to the AIF and 81,976 sent to India.", a total figure of 121,324. However that figure is remounts only. It does not include horses taken with the 1st and second Brigades and the service horses of other units in the early convoys.
If we allow 1 horse for each member of a LH unit that equals 552 nominal strength. With Extra horses for officers that could go to 600. 12 Regiments at 600 is 7200 (11th Regiment off loaded their horses in Adelaide). Plus infantry officers and service horses and artillery horses.I have not chased these figures as yet,,, I have been a little busy on other projects. But it is likely that the figure of 169000 is a bit high.

THe 150 horses destroyed prior to classification were not illegals. THat was a common occurance for horses deemed beyond further use. The 667 figure is much higher than the rate allowed for with most regiments. ROughly twice the average. 222 per regiment compared to 100 average.
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Re: Disposal of Horses at the end of WWI


Thanks Rob,

All very interesting- I will have a bit more of think about your numbers over this week. I will dig out the source of my 169,000 number. (I60,000 is the figure often quoted)

Just by way of interest Gullet quotes that the 3rd L.H. Bde had at the onset including Artillery, about 2,800 horses. The total "casualties" for the 13 days which covered the ride to Damascus and the fighting on the along the Allepo road, were 150. Of these 25 were killed, 2 destroyed in action, 15 were wounded, and 6 posted as missing. The balance include any ailment from sore backs to colic, which threw a horse even temporarily out of action.

The interesting part in the paragraph taken from 'The Anzac Bulletin' - Issue No 100 Dec 6,1918 is the fact that Gullet quotes a figure of 2,800 horses incl artillery per brigade.

That might put your figure of 13,500 horses in service at the end of the war as a bit short. What do you think?

Geoff
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Re: Disposal of Horses at the end of WWI


Some interesting figures on this and related matters are at

[sign in to see URL]#numbers

(I cannot paste them here as they are in table form)

I quote the source but cannot comment on accuracy
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Re: Disposal of Horses at the end of WWI


Ted, the figure of 121324 is the figure quoted in the official history. THe figures in your table from "Walers" have no connection with the AIF horses at all. Yarwood's figures are exports for sale, not service.

THe 2800 for an artillery brigade is interesting, however the 13500 figure is for the middle east and Australia had no artillery in the middle east at that time,,,,, all artillery attached to the Light Horse units were British units or Indian, so I have not included them. However 2800 for a Brigade doesnt sound like the correct number for active animals,,,,, sounds more like the total number used. Like men, a LH Regiment had 552 but 2nd LH had about 3000 men pass through its ranks in 4 years. Allowing 6 horses per gun would be 400 plus guns,,,,,,,, thats a lot for one Brigade.
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Re: Disposal of Horses at the end of WWI


Rob - I know what you are saying, but I am quoting directly from Gullet- the 3rd L.H. Bde had 2,800 horses including artillery from the outset?? of the battle (NOT in Total) It seems like a lot of horses. I cannot believe it is a �typo�
& Gullet how can he have it wrong.

So you are inferring the British or Indian Artillery did not have Australian horses? I know that our Arty was in France- Is that why you have not included the horses in the British/Indian mounts?

Just by way of interest I have a figure of 95,000 horses being supplied to the British & Indian Government. That would raise your grand total to approx 145,000.

So I am still short using your calc for the horses brought over with the original contingents. But that would raise it to over 150,000 horses

Regards
Geoff S
P.S. Please note Nutting figures I quoted were based on a Brigade not a regiment. (I.e. 4th Bde)
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Re: Disposal of Horses at the end of WWI


Yeah thanks Rob. I was aware of that. I did after all type the thing so I did read it and I did not claim that they were AIF horses. Even the dates (1861 to 1931) might point in that direction. I am pretty dumb but I picked that one.

However many of them were to British Remount service and where did we source our remounts?

Also you appear to be trying to lunp all horses into 1 bag. "Walers" or riding horses were not put to pulling artillery. They used bigger heavier horses for the guns.

Cooking waggons were horse drawn. Supply waggons were horse drawn. Ambulances were horse drawn. Add those to the aforementioned artillery and it seems pointless to say "X Regiment had Y men so needed Z horses". The riding horses were only the tip of the iceberg
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Re: Disposal of Horses at the end of WWI


I am definitely not trying to lump all horses into one bag. My figures are only for Light Horse units. As i said, I have not researched Artillery or Service units.
Geoff, 3rd LH Brigade was a force of about 1600 men. (Nominally 552 soldiers per regiment. Attached to each Brigade was an Artillery Unit, plus Service and Lines of communication.) I dont see how you can get 1200 horses in that, but I wont call Gullett a liar without researching the details.
The 2500 figure I came up with was for horses destroyed at Brigade and Remount unit levels after the horses were catagorised. How the AWM got their figure of 2000 plus 250, I dont know.
Regiments and Brigades did not keep horses on their inventory if they were not being used. They were returned to the Remount units as soon as possible to keep feed bills to the minimum. Commanders were continually being badgered about costs and that was a quick way to get into trouble with the bean counters.

Ted,
the Australian Remounts came through our own remount system and on ocassions were "borrowed" (officially) from the Imperial forces. The ledgers for the Remount units show the horses they had in stock at any time, some belonging to the AIF, Some NZ and other Imperial, all were accounted for individually and at the wars end they were returned to their rightful owners as soon as possible,,, once again to reduce the feed bill and the number of men needed to look after them.

According to Chauvel, (letter [sign in to see URL]) "...with the exception of 3 New Zealand Regiments and a few indian regiments, practically all the British Cavalry in the Palestine Theatre were eventually mounted on Australian Horses..."

The 13500 figure is for Australian Light Horse Regiments only. No attempt has been made to try to assess the basis of disposal of horses by British or Indian units. They arguement has been that Australians (1) SHot all their horses or (2)Shot most of their horses. THat is what I have set out to disprove, nothing more, nothing less.
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