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This Anzac Day a very special service will be held at a small memorial to an extraordinary member of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force. Horses, riders, and supporters of the Bess Society, will gather at Flock House near Bulls to pay tribute to Bess, the only New Zealand horse to serve through the entire WWI campaign and return home.
Bess, the personal mount of Colonel Guy Powles of the Wellington Mounted Rifles, saw action many times in the desert campaigns, and was never wounded. At the end of the war she remained with Col. Powles, including being taken to England where she represented New Zealand at the Coronation in 1920.
Having sailed from Wellington in October 1914, she finally returned home in July 1920, with just 3 other horses out of the 10,000 who served. On her return Bess led a parade of honour at the Carterton A & P Show fully decked out in all the Colonel's ribbons and medals. Bess also provided the inspiration for the Anzac memorial sculpture erected first at Port Said in 1932, which was relocated to Albany, Western Australia after damage during the Suez crisis.
The cairn erected to Bess stands to remind us all of the heroics of man and horse in the deserts of the Middle East. It is New Zealand’s only memorial to the 10,000 New Zealand horses who served in WWI, and never returned. Bess died at the age of 24 on Flock House Farm.
Those wishing to attend this special commemoration for Anzac Day should contact Fred MacDonald of the Bess Society on 063646616 Or 0211468938. Horses, riders and supporters will meet at Flock House at 7.30am on Anzac morning, and depart for the memorial site on Forest Road off Parewanui Road,Bulls at 8.30am.