Songster’s Tale

I am delighted to announce that I will be presenting on Saturday 10th April (tomorrow!) at the New England Historical Society’s annual conference. This is the first time I will be presenting as part of a group who put forward a panel proposal, so it will be great to meet up with my fellow ‘Animal Historians’ and hear about their current work. Charlotte Carrington-Farmer (Roger Williams University) will be talking about Mule breeding for export in C18th New England, while Allen Horn (Eastern Connecticut State University) will be speaking about a horse called Little Sorrel in the American Civil War.

This time, I’ve also moved a little away from my usual presentation style; going for a more story-like approach. My aim is to talk about the soldier-horse relationship by following the exploits of Songster – The Leicestershire Yeomanry’s much-loved veteran of The Great War. To say that he was a ‘character’ is certainly an understatement – He was described as having been ‘as artful as a barrowload of monkeys’! Today, he is remembered as ‘Loughborough’s very own War Horse’. I am really looking forward to sharing Songster with a new audience in New England!

Here is a link to the conference:

And, here’s my abstract for the conference:

When peace was declared on 11th November 1918, the painful process of mourning and reconciliation began. In the United Kingdom, and although horses rarely featured in official memorials to the War’s dead, the British people nevertheless found ways to remember its war horses. As a relatively ‘safe’ topic, veterans talked about their horses, and told stories of their shared adventures and exploits. Veterans wrote about their horses in their memoirs, and shared these memories with their families. Local communities celebrated their veteran war horses, and took great pride in each individual’s exploits and longevity well into the 1930s. This paper explores the soldier-horse relationship ‘in life and memory’ by following the wartime exploits and subsequent memorialisation of Songster – a notable equine veteran of The Great War whose memory is still cherished by the people of Loughborough today.

Author: janeflynnsenseandsentimentality

I am an independent researcher and writer affiliated to The University of Derby, UK. I was awarded a PhD in 2016 for my thesis: 'Sense and Sentimentality: The Soldier-Horse Relationship in the Great War'.

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