19 Apr 2015

War Horses

From Spectrum, 12:05 pm on 19 April 2015

War Horses Thereza Rosanowski organiser of the Birch Hill Ride
Thereza Rosanowski, organiser of the Birch Hill Ride.

A dream come true.

Gallery: Birch Hill Ride

It may have been months of work but North Canterbury mother, Thereza Rosanowski, says it was "a dream come true" to organise the Birch Hill Ride which marked the 100th anniversary of horses leaving New Zealand for World War 1.

10,000 horses left the country to serve in World War One but just four returned, with the others either killed or left with the Egyptians or the British Army.

War Horses
Nicci McClintoch riding in pink and two friends, Mark and Amanda Saville, from the  Okuku Western Riders club.

In 1937 Lt Col EB Millton of Birch Hill Station in North Canterbury, commissioned a stone monument for the station's cemetery with a plaque dedicated to the 10 farm workers who left to join the war effort.

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Malcolm Brady (left) and Graeme Barber from the Canterbury Branch of the Antique Historical Arms Association. Their private collections of memorabilia lend an authenticity to such events.

But a second plaque paid homage to the horses of the 8th Regiment NZMR who died in the Great War.

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Kate O’Connor with her children Ella and Lachlan. Lachlan is wearing his great granddad’s medals. Clydesdales representing the Canterbury Clydesdale Club.

In the lead up to ANZAC Day, several hundred people mounted their own horses or travelled by covered wagon over farmland to the now public Birch Hill Cemetery to pay their respects.

War Horses
Descendents of the men from Birch Hill who went to war.