The Real War Horse

Articles

History of horses during WWI

When war began in 1914 the British army possessed a mere...

Like on Facebook

The Real War Horse

The Real War Horse tells the epic story of the life and death of the horses, mules and donkeys that assisted the British Army in World War I. Of the one million sent to the Western Front during the conflict, only 67,000 returned home, with 933,000 tragically dying.

This chapter of war history has recently captured the public imagination with the huge success of West End play War Horse, based on Michael Morpurgo’s children’s novel of the same name. Using footage from the stage play and dramatic reconstruction, alongside interviews with Michael Morpurgo and other key figures behind the play, the harsh realities of the horses' war experience is brought vividly to life.

Related: The history of horses in warfare

Rare, high quality black and white archive, alongside fascinating footage on the work of the RSPCA, the Army Veterinary Corps and horse hospitals in World War I, compliments this. Imminent World War I historian Richard van Emden also reveals interesting information about the role of horses in the war.

At the heart of the film is the deeply moving testimony of the last survivors who worked with and rode horses during the war. They were filmed exclusively for this show over the past ten years. Those featured include Smiler Marshall (Essex Yeomanry), Norman Cowan (Northumberland Hussars), Alfred Henn (Warwickshire Horse Artillery) Bill Cotgrove (Essex Horse Artillery), GB Jamieson (1st Northumberland Hussars Yeomanry in British Expeditionary Force, 1914) and others.

All these elements combine to create a lasting tribute to the horses and the horsemen, revealing the vital role they played in the survival and final victory of the Allied armed forces.

Where to Watch

Sky: 529 & 530 (+1)
Virgin Media: 270 & 271 (+1)
BT: 327
TalkTalk: 327

Forged in Fire

Get ready for new weapons, competitors and tasks. Tune in to find out who will win the title of Forged in Fire Champion. 

Visit show page

American Pickers

Join Mike and Frank as they search for valuable relics and antiques across America's small towns and backroads. 

Visit show page

Vikings

The Vikings are back. Now King, Ragnar leads his people to an uncertain fate with dreams of conquering Paris. 

Visit show page

Swamp People

Catch up with Swamp People in their brand new series. Tensions rise as friends and foes alike compete to be King of the Swamp. 

Visit show page

Storage Wars: New Series

New and familiar faces search for gems on repossessed storage units in the latest episodes of Storage Wars. 

Visit show page

Shaun Ryder on UFOs

We follow Shaun Ryder of the Happy Mondays around the world as he investigates evidence of UFO existence. 

Visit show page