A painting featuring World War I-era farrier and horses has been put on display in New Zealand.
The painting, by the official New Zealand Army artist Captain Matt Gauldie, commemorates the 1st Otago Battalion’s surge in the Battle of the Messines during WWI.
Gauldie’s The Attack of the Otago Mounted Rifles at Messines painstakingly attempts to detail events as they happened at the battle. It depicts four soldiers escaping German fire on horseback: Troopers Willy Hornell and Fred Naylor, Lt. Edwin Wells and Farrier Cpl. Jimmy Jack.
Horses and men were killed in the battle, including farrier Jack.
The battle took place June 7, 1917. Following explosions across German lines along the Messines Ridge in Flanders, New Zealand divisions of British forces executed “the most successful British attack of the war to that date,” according to an article by the Otago Daily Times.
The Otago Mounted Rifles were part of these forces and this marked the only time in the regiment’s mounted soldiers charged at hostility on horseback.
The painting’s exhibition is part of events across New Zealand recognizing 100 years since WWI. It will be at the Toitu Otago Settlers Museum in the “Call to Arms” display through June.
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