The Great War: Racing and the 'Great Ride' (continued)

Other Writers:


Henry P Bostock  (10th Light Horse) in his book The Great Ride records while on leave in August 1917, ‘On a visit to the races we met two Australian nurses and took them to the theatre that night’. [9].  Later on 12th June 1919 (Mansourah), Bostock records: ‘The Brigade held a race meeting and the unkind remarks in my diary refer to the horses as being all sorts of queer looking animals called ‘race horses’ training on the track at sunrise and again in the evening.  However, the meeting was a great success, fellows becoming instant bookmakers and the money flowed freely'.


‘The meeting was so successful that a bigger and better meeting was held on Saturday, 21st June.  Large marquee tents were erected for shade and, of course, one was set aside for drinks.  Invitations were sent to all other units and as far away as Cairo and Alexandria.  Many Europeans attended. Some uninvited ladies from Cairo attended the meetings, causing some embarrassment to some of the higher rankers, who were paying much attention to their English lady friends.  It was rumoured that some prankster had sent them invitations.  Who that was, we never did know.  However the meeting was a huge success—our final in Egypt'. [10]


Racing at war also included the mounted tug-of-war, wrestling on horseback and jumping events.  See The Kia Ora Coo-ee: The Magazine for the ANZACS in the Middle East. 1918 (Cornstalk Publishing, 1981, p.13)




For readers who are interested in the stories of other animals with wartime roles, Jilly Cooper’s compelling book Animals in War (2000) recounts the stories, suffering, and fates of dogs, pigeons, camels, and mules. Jilly’s book inspired fundraising for the Animals in War Memorial, a beautiful sculptural installation on Park Lane in London.




[9] Bostock, Henry P., The Great Ride (Perth: Artful Books Western Australia, 1982, p.88)

[10] Ibid. p.216