Racing Remembers the Horses of World War 1
This Remembrance Sunday, 11 November, marks 100 years since the end of World War 1, in which Britain lost over 480,000 horses – one horse for every two men.
Horses were integral to the British military effort throughout World War 1, reliably transporting guns, ammunition, artillery and supplies to the front. Without horses, the Army could not have operated as successfully as it did.
Racing commemorates the horses and cavalry who lost their lives.
National Hunt Jockey, Tom Scudamore, will be thinking of the animals and men who fought for Britain this Sunday, including his Great Grandfather, Geoffrey Scudamore, who was a radio operator in the RAF during the Second World War.
A successful amateur rider before the war broke out, Geoffrey had his plane shot down and spent two years in a prisoner of war camp, during which time their family had no idea where he was. Tom says his Grandfather, the late jockey Michael Scudamore, shared the story with him and spoke of the huge amount of bravery these young men had.
“It’s phenomenal that during those wars, men and women were willing to sacrifice their lives for the greater good. Some paid the ultimate price, for us to live our day-to-day lives, and it’s only right that we pay our respects this Sunday, 100 years on from World War I,” he said.
He added that the contribution of horses during World War I cannot be understated, especially with the mechanics of war and the horrors they had to face.
“I feel enormous respect for those horses. You can only have the strongest admiration for the people and animals that were in active service. That’s why racedays like Sandown and Ffos Las on Sunday are important.”
In recognition of 100 years since the end of World War 1, Sandown and Ffos Las Racecourse will observe a two-minute silence at 11am along with the rest of the country, before racing starts this Remembrance Sunday.
Wartime Jockey Joe Childs
Jockey Joe Childs is remembered in racing as a champion jockey, having won 15 Classic races in a career that spanned 35 years, and is also admired for his riding efforts throughout World War 1.
Born in Chantilly, France and raised in Britain, Joe began his career in 1899 and rode his first winner at Lincoln in 1900 aged 16. He spent time riding in France and Germany but returned to England at the start of the war and joined the 4th Hussars.
He was granted regular leave from his cavalry regiment which enabled him to race ride in England, and in 1918 he gave all his resulting riding fees to regimental funds. This included his 1918 Triple Crown success, with champion racehorse Gainsborough winning the 2000 Guineas, the substitute Derby and the substitute St. Leger. All three legs of the Triple Crown were run at Newmarket Racecourse that year, due to World War 1.
In 1925, Childs became first jockey to King George V, riding for him and trainer William Rose Jarvis up until 1935.
Throughout his career, Childs won the 2000 Guineas, the 1000 Guineas and the Derby three times each, as well as the Oaks and St Leger four times each. He also won the Ascot Gold Cup no less than four times.