Horseman, Passed By (CTG)
Pvt. George T. Matchett, 1914
Horseman, Passed By
Before the war, my English grandfather went
to Canada and became a cowboy on the prairie;
as war loomed, he returned home, enlisted
in the Yeomanry, ready to cry out "Hussar!"
as he waved his sabre, riding over the Huns
in their Pickelhaubes. I see him fresh and
bright-eyed with the cavalryman's leather
halter, neat pockets packed with brass bullets.
But it was, after all, the new, twentieth century,
horsepower on the way out. The high command
reconsidered, horses being shredded just as men,
and they issued the cavalry boys bicycles instead.
Later, Grandad ferried supplies to the Macedonian
front. I never got clear: did he ride a bike then?
Christopher T. George
Last edited by ChrisGeorge; 03-19-2009 at 09:13 PM.
Thats a lovely Photo, he looks so full of hope, I wonder if people would be so keen to volunteer now.
Thank you, Chris. Yes I think those young men were full of hope when they first signed up. Only to be quickly disenchanted, I think, about the realities of war.
A friend gave me the rather sad reason for the shift from horses to bicycles:
The substitution was due to the fact that the slaughter of horses was so immense that all the agricultural horses had been rounded up, enforcing the total mechanization of British farming. Even this was not sufficient, so when no more than a tiny residue of horses remained, which were necessary to draw heavy munitions, bicycles were issued for the cavalrymen?s use.
I am getting ready to give a presentation on my grandfather's service in World War I at a Great War conference in Philadelphia in May.
brilliant photo Chris, well done sir. I must say about war nowadays..it is just as pointless today as it was yesterday and hundreds of years ago. Nobody wins in war. Nobody!
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