Each day, the horses would ride out into the desert as their owners looked for places to position their guns to hold off a potential attack. “Each of the four 12-pounder guns needed 12 horses to drag it through the sand.” But there was no Turkish assault on Suez, and the battery was given orders to advance on Gaza, the Turkish stronghold in Palestine.
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Nearly all the men are careful and fond of their horses now.” After further training, the battery eventually sailed from Southampton to France on 19 November 1915.
In the event, however, the men escaped the worst of the Western Front: they were only billeted near Vermelles, in northern France, over Christmas, and were on the move again by January 1916, this time to Egypt.
He could not be cajoled to his feet again, and had to be shot.
In Cairo, the remaining horses had another unsettling experience: their first encounters with camels.
“It is ripping to have all these horses and several of our own amongst them,” 2nd Lt Laurie wrote home in one of his first letters, on 22 December, detailing the bonds already forming between the men and their steeds.