As Australia continues to commemorate the Centenary of Anzac, it is not just our diggers whom we remember. Australian heroes came in all different shapes, sizes… and species.
Creatures great and small who contributed their strength, energy and lives to the Australian Imperial Forces and the Australian Defence Force helped to define the spirit of our great nation.
Horses were loyal companions and powerful mounts for soldiers at war. Whether charging into battle, carrying armoured soldiers or transporting mounted infantrymen, they contributed their strength in all terrains.
During World War I, 6100 Australian horses were deployed overseas. ‘Walers’ was the name given to horses used by the Australian Imperial Force in Magdhaba and Beersheba throughout the Middle East Campaign.
Of the 6100 ‘Walers’ who fought alongside our soldiers, only one horse completed his journey back home: Sandy the War Horse.
Sandy was the loyal companion to Major General Sir William Bridges, First Commander of the Australian Imperial Force. After the Major’s death, Sandy was cared for by Captain Leslie Whitfield in Egypt. In 1918, Sandy was brought home to graze at an Army stable in Victoria, where he saw out the rest of his days.
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