27th Nov 1915. Work amongst the horses at the front


A very interesting lantern lecture on the special work of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in France, was gives in the Co-operative Hall on Wednesday evening by Mr L Y Squire. The Rev W H Payne Smith presided over a fairly good attendance, and before calling upon Mr Squire to give his lecture, pointed out that the R.S.P.C.A was the only one of the numerous societies which existed in England for the encouragement of proper treatment of animals whose help had been accepted by the Army Council.

Mr Squire then delivered his lecture, and stated that as soon as the war broke out the R.S P.C.A offered its services to the Army Veterinary Department, because they had over 200 inspectors in England and Wales, men who had been trained by Veterinary Lectures, etc, to look after horses, and the Society felt that these men could be more usefully occupied in that direction than in other ways. The Government replied to the effect that they had made their arrangements, and, as far as they knew, they would be able to get along all right, and, if necessary, they would call the Society in later. This was in August, 1914, but things grew so rapidly and developed so amazingly, that the Government were very soon desirous of their help, and asked them for assistance by starting a special fund for providing the many things necessary for horses at home and abroad. About November, last year, the Society was appointed an auxiliary to the Amy Veterinary Department. He pointed out that no one was allowed within 15 miles of the firing line unless they belonged to the Army, and therefore a good number of their inspectors were recruited into the Army. They could not drain the country of all their inspectors, because there was plenty of work for them, and it was not to be supposed that there was no cruelty going on at home now. As a matter of fact there was more now than for some years past, because the best horses had been commandeered by the Government, and a great many old crocks were showing themselves about the place, and must be stringently looked after. However, they had sent over their best men, and, in addition, they had trained and sent out 300 others, chiefly drawn from the groom class. Veterinary lectures and lessons in bandaging were given to those men, who were thus prepared for the work of the A.V.D at the front. At the present time the ordinary work of the Society was going on as usual. The number of convictions obtained was as high as before, and this work had to be done with 50 per cent of the staff with the Colours. Mr Squire pointed out that the money collected for their Special War Fund went direct to the horses of the British Army, all the work was being done by the Society’s staff at headquarters, and not one penny of the money was spent in salaries. Another phase of the Society’s work was the delivery of lectures on the horse and veterinary matters to the newly formed cavalry and artillery units of the Army, and he could assure them that these lectures were much appreciated by the men, who were as keen as mustard. Dealing with their work at the front, Mr Squire mentioned that the reason there was such a large number of casualties among horses was that they had to draw the supplies from the mechanical transport section to the actual war area. They had now three large horse hospitals at the front, two capable of accommodating 1,000 horses each, and the third 1,290 ; these were built at a cost of £31,000, and, so far, the results had been very satisfactory. Chloroform was how administered to all horses to be operated upon, and in cases where recovery was hopeless or, doubtful, the Animals were mercifully slaughtered. They also had a convalescent horse depot, for horses which had broken down through overwork ; here they had treated 100,000 animals, and of these 70,000 had been able to return to work. Twenty-eight horse ambulances and two motor ambulances for conveying the horses to the hospital, had also been sent out at a great expense. Despite all this there was a great deal more work to do, although they had the matter well in hand as far as France was concerned, but that was not the only field of operations, and there was urgent need for assistant in the other theatres of war. The Society had spent the money to the best of their ability as they went along, and there was very little in hand now, and they would want a lot more if they were going to look after the British horses in other sphere’s of hostilities, as they would have to do in the coming winter and spring.

Additional interest was lent to the lecture by the photographs which were projected on to the screen by Mr E H Hall.

The meeting closed with a vote of thanks to the lecturer, proposed by Mr J J McKinnell. Members of the Rugby Womens’ Volunteer Reserve acted as stewards, and a collection was taken on behalf of the war work of the Society.


Te Hira, the house so kindly lent by Mr and Mrs St Hill, has been accepted by the War Office as Auxiliary Hospital to the 1st Southern General Hospital, R.A.M.C.T, Edgbaston, Birmingham. Te Hira has now to be equipped as soon as possible to receive 20 men and staff.

A large amount of the necessary articles for equipping the hospital has already been offered, but considerable expense will still have to be incurred before the hospital is completely furnished.

Some donations, which are acknowledged below, have just been received ; others will be welcome. It is not, however, proposed to ask for many more towards furnishing.

For running expenses assistance will probably, at first, be needed ; for this purpose it is hoped that a large number of weekly subscriptions, from 6d to 2/6 a week, will be forthcoming. Will those who feel disposed to do this send a postcard saying what they desire to subscribe, either to Mrs Wharton, Vine Cottage, Bilton, or to Mrs Prior, Dunchurch Road, Rugby.

Great help was given at our Red Cross Hospital last year by many tradesmen, laundresses, and others, who supplied articles of food, etc, without charge, for certain periods. Any help of that nature will be greatly appreciated. Those who are good enough to wish to help again should communicate, with the above-named ladies.

To help to swell our Funds we hope to organise a Red Cross day shortly. As no collection was made in Rugby for “ Our Day ” recently, it is hoped there will be a good response to the Rugby Town Red Cross Collection.

Donations Received.

Balance, of Red Cross Funds   £    s    d

collected by G Miller, Esq         8     6   7

Dr and Mrs Simey……….           1    0    0

The Misses Harris………            4   14   0

Mr Morris of the Empire…          10   0    0

Miss J Wratislaw……….             1     0    0

Mrs McCawley………….                   2    6

Miss R H Dukes                              2     6

Mr A J Shillitoe……….                       5    0

Rugby Lamp Factory……..         2    2    0

£27   12    7

A fully equipped bed has been given by the Misses Alderson, by Mrs Hopps, and by G Miller, Esq.

Vice-President B.R.C. Society.




Fourteen motor ambulances of the latest pattern, approved by the War Office, were view on Tuesday afternoon in St James’s Square. They were the last of a convoy of fifty presented by British farmers to the British Red Cross Society and the St John’s Ambulance Association.

The cars have; accommodation for eight sitting patients, together with one attendant and a driver, or for four patients when stretchers as used. The complete convoy has cost £32,500, the price of each car being £450, and with each has been given a sum of £200 for its upkeep for six months. The chassis are of American manufacture, but the Bedford Motor Works, Willesden, are responsible for the body work.

There was no formal ceremony, but during the day many farmers and landowners from the country who had contributed to their cost inspected the cars, which came from the counties of Wiltshire (4), Warwickshire (2), Hereford (2), Stafford (1), Yorkshire (1), Northampton (1) Somerset (1), Monmouth (1), and Cheshire (1).


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