The horse the Germans couldn't kill


  Warrior and General Jack Seely by Sir Alfred Munnings

Eight million horses. countless mules and donkeys died in the First World War in memory of every single one of them we're publishing the obituary of one who survived, General Jack Seely's bay thoroughbred gelding Warrior:

"My Horse Warrior"


"Warrior, Lord Mottistone's old charger, has died at Mottistone Manor, in the Isle of Wight. His age was 32. The severe weather of the last two winters has affected his health , and Lord Mottistone regretfully decided to have the horsepainlessly destroyed.

Lord Mottistone told his story in "My Horse Warrior," which he published in 1934. Bred form his life-long owner from a thoroughbred mare named Cinderella, Warrior became a good-looking, powerful bay standing 15.2. Lord Mottistone took him to France as part of the orginal Expeditionary Force in August, 1914. He was soon in retreat from Mons with the G.H.Q. horses. At the Marne and again at the first battle of Ypres he was often ridden by the Commander-in-Chief, Sir John French.

When Lieutenant-Colonel John Seely, as he then was, was apointed early in 1915 to Comand the Canadian Cavalry Brigade he returned to England with Warrior to complete the training of his new command. After that interlude the horse served continuously on the Western Front till Christmas Day, 1918. Twice he was buried by the bursting of big shells on soft ground, but he was never seriously wounded. The Canadians, all of whom held Warrior in great affection, called him, "The horse the Germans couldn't kill." His owner afterwards said, "His escapes were quite wonderful.Again and again he survived when death seemed certain and, indeed, befell all his neighbours. It ws not all hazard; sometimes it was due to his intelligence. I have seen him, even when a shell burst within a few feet, stand still without a tremor - just turn his head and, unconcerned, look at the smoke of the burst."

After 1918 Warrior became the family hunter in the land of his birth the Isle of Wight. From time to time his owner gave news of his welfare to the readers of The Times. In his last letter on the subject, dated May 31st, 1938, Lord Mottistone announced that that morning they had cantered together over Mottistone Downs, "greatly rejoicing, our united ages being exactly 100 years." Warrior's portrait was painted by Mr A. J. Munnings several times - the first time in France with the Canadian Cavalry Brigade. His last ceremonial appearance was in the paradeof veteran war-horses the the Horse Show at Olympia seven years ago."

The Times, 5th April, 1941.