War Horse raises funds for threatened WW1 stables


A soldier of the Army Remount Service with a convalescent horse of the Army Service Corps

The final London production of Michael Morpurgo’s play War Horse on 12 March raised funds for the Shorncliffe Trust, which is trying to preserve original First World War stables near Folkestone in Kent.

The charity is attempting to raise money to preserve the site of the Shorncliffe stables and remount school, run by the Canadian Veterinary Corps at Shorncliffe Camp during the First World War.

Due for demolition

Morpurgo said: ‘Shorncliffe contributed hugely to the war effort, providing care, veterinary attention and alleviating the suffering. It is a place that played a significant part in the story of the First World War, and that is a story that must be told in all its aspects and passed onto the next generation.’

The stables on the former MOD-owned site are soon to be demolished by the new owners Taylor Wimpey.

Chris Shaw, founder of the Shorncliffe Trust, says the charity is trying to raise £2m to lease the land from the new owners and turn the buildings into an educational centre. ‘We thank Michael Morpurgo and the National Theatre for supporting our charity and giving us a chance to tell the story of these magnificent animals, who bravely worked and died alongside their soldiers from all countries during the First World War,’ Shaw said.

On the way to the front

‘We hope the work and educational programmes we are planning at Shorncliffe are a fitting legacy to the thousands of men and horses that came through the gates of the camp during the First World War.’

More than three million men were present at Shorncliffe Camp at one time or other during the First World War, making it one of the most important staging posts on the way to the front line in France and Belgium.

For more about the Shorncliffe Trust, click here.

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