Bess the Brave War Horse: Published By Scholastic
Available from popular bookstores and online retailers in New Zealand and Australia
Bess the Brave War Horse is a story about a young filly who grew up on an idyllic farm in Martinborough. In 1914 Captain Guy Powles chose to take Bess with him to the Great War (WWI) in North Africa. She was loaded onto a troop ship and kept below decks for seven weeks with four hundred other horses. On arrival in Egypt she had many sights and sounds to get used to while the soldiers set up camp. The heat was stifling when training in the desert and the noise of the guns terrified Bess.
Many months later Bess and the battalion trekked 50 kilometres a day until ordered to dismount. They fought in many bitter battles. During one fight, a shell exploded in front of Bess and threw her master to the ground. She stayed by his wounded body until the fighting was over. When they rode through the town of Jaffa, just after the enemy had retreated, the villagers greeted them. Captain Powles lifted a little girl onto Bess’s back and she walked carefully through the narrow streets.
When the war was over the men were told they could not take their horses home. Captain Powles was determined to not leave Bess behind. He pleaded with his commander to be allowed to take her back to New Zealand, and was delighted to be given permission. Once home, she galloped in the green grass, and when her master’s son rode her, she trotted gently across the peaceful green fields.