Brave Bess and the ANZAC horses: A true story of courage and loyalty by Susan Brocker (Harper Collins) ISBN:9781869507916 RRP $19.99 Release date: March 2010
At the outbreak of war in 1914, the New Zealand troops left for the battlefields with more than 3,700 horses. The horses were the first of over 10,328 that were sent to war between 1914 and 1916, serving mainly with the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade in the Middle East.
Of all the horses that departed at the start of war, only one ever returned home. Her name was Bess, and this is her story.
Read how Bess acclimatises to the heat and sand in Egypt and fearlessly goes into battle with her rider Major Guy Powles. They survive skirmishes in the Sinai, battles at Beersheba and Ayun Kara, troop through the Mountains of Moab and endure the Valley of Death. She withstands bombs, machine gun fire and injuries outliving horses that have been by her side throughout the whole ordeal.
Susan Brocker has brought to life this seldom told tale of the brave horses who fought and died alongside New Zealand troopers in World War One. Susan has researched extensively the history of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles in the Middle East campaign. She read diaries, memoirs and letters of soldiers from New Zealand and Australia. Told in the narrative form readers will: be carried along the nail biting journey; stifle a few tears when the main characters Bess, Flame and Jack and their riders are hurt; admire the courage and loyalty of all involved. There's something for both genders: horses for horse-mad girls and battles for boys. A tragic but poignant story - highly recommended for 12 years onwards.