Romsey War Horse and Remount Depot 

Amy Goodman
The Sculptor

Amy Goodman, A.S.E.A. was born in Windsor in 1974 and started drawing and sculpting from a young age. Having ridden all her life, horses have always been a passion and feature frequently in her work. She completed a Fine Art Degree in Southampton in 1997 and has been establishing herself as a Sculptor and Portrait Artist ever since.

 

After a five-year spell working in the South-West of France, Amy returned to the UK in 2008 to become a resident artist at the inspirational Project Workshops in Hampshire. Amy loves working in different media and has developed her unique style of welded steel, bronze sculpture, and a variety of 2D work, including her distinctive equestrian ink and acrylic wash paintings.

 

Her work is shown internationally and she regularly exhibits with the Society of Equestrian Artists where she has recently been promoted to Associate member.

Amy has been garnering increasing attention for her sculptural work over the past few years. In 2012, she undertook the Pegasus project of three Flying Horse Sculptures, which leap out into the street at Flying Horse Walk Arcade in Nottingham.

 

Soon afterwards, a bronze portrait of Professor Sid Watkins was commissioned by the British Racing Drivers Club for Silverstone, and was unveiled at an awards ceremony in December.

 

The trend continues into 2013, as Amy completed an eight foot 'Angel' in bronze, destined to watch over the entrance to Winchester University's King Alfred campus and welcome its visitors.

 

Amy states: "As long as I can remember I have drawn and sculpted animals, particularly horses. The character and movement of the subject matter are very important to me - a few strokes of paint or a few lines of steel can say so much.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Being involved in the War Horse Project is such an honour and I wish to convey the powerful bond between horse and soldier, despite their hardship through war."

 

On September 10 2013 Amy’s Romsey War Horse Maquette won the British Sporting Art Trust best Sculpture award at the annual Society of Equestrian Artists ‘Horse in Art’ Exhibition, which takes place at the Mall Galleries in London.

 

A limited number of maquettes are available for purchase.  For details enquire of Amy whose details are given below.  These statues are limited editions with a maximum of 15 in bronze resin and 9 in bronze. Of these 10 have already been sold.

 

Amy Goodman's studio is: Studio 6, Project Workshops, Lains Farm, Quarley, Hampshire, SP11 8PX.  www.amygoodman.co.uk 

Amy with her creation of three flying horse statues which was commissioned for the Flying Horse Walk Arcade in Nottingham.

The
War Memorial Park
 

For some years before the First World War, there had been demands for a public park in Romsey, but these were rejected by the town council as too expensive and unnecessary.

 

However, at the end of the War, the question of how to honour the dead was discussed and establishment of a memorial park was thought to be appropriate. The Council owned a field, called Street Mead, which lay between two braids of the River Test.  In summer it was used for grazing but in winter was often waterlogged. In order to prepare the ground, hardcore was brought from the demolished structures of the nearby Remount camp and used to raise the ground level.

 

The War Memorial was designed by two local men, C.W.P. Dyson and S.C. Greenwood.  It was carved and erected by Messrs. Grace & Sons of Romsey at a cost of £267 15s 2d (£267.76).  The memorial was unveiled by Majhor General Jack Seely on 22nd June, 1921.

The unveiling ceremony of Romsey's War Memorial, 22 June 1921.  Major General Jack Seely is taking the salute.

 

Since then, the war memorial has been the focus of the town's annual Remembrance Day services around 11th November. In 2013, more than 3,000 people attended.

 

In 1946 Lord Mountbatten presented the town with a 150mm Japanese field gun that had come to the Allies on the surrender of the Japanese in South-East Asia.  This has been placed in the War Memorial Park and for many years was climbed on by small children.  Recently it was damaged, but Test Valley Borough Council arranged for its repair, including completely rebuilding its wheels.

Before the Second World War, there had been a thatched bandstand in the park which became derelict and was demolished.  In the 1990s, Miss Madge Saunders generously donated a new bandstand to the town, in memory of her father, Alfred George Saunders of Cupernham Lane, Romsey and this has been a great attraction, providing a venue for concerts and for other activities in the park.

 

The park is is the care of Test Valley Borough Council who have been awarded six consecutive Green Flags thus demonstrating the high standards that they are maintaining

Romsey Remount Depot

Romsey Remount Depot

 

When World War I started in 1914, the country was covered by a network of railways, and the internal combustion engine had arrived. Nevertheless, horse-power was still the prime method of moving the Army and its supplies. Indeed, horse-power remained an essential part of every army until the mid-20th century.

 

Until the late 19th century every regiment provided for itself. Then the Army Remount Service was created, its objective being to procure horses, mules, donkeys and even camels for the whole Army. The Boer War proved that this new scheme was a success, and it was developed. The Service made surveys of the horse population, and also investigated the possibilities of purchasing animals from overseas.

 

Romsey Remount Camp Established

By the start of the 1914-18 war, the Remount Service was surprisingly well prepared. Romsey became one of its key centres for the duration. Construction of a camp, at the top of Pauncefoot Hill, began in November 1914. Throughout the war, until his promotion a few weeks before Armistice Day, the commandant was Col. Sir H.M. Jessel, MP, who kept a detailed diary which he later published.

The camp covered nearly 500 acres, centred around Ranvilles Farm, and was built by private contractors, who employed some 800 men. It was designed in two sections, North Camp and South Camp, with the officers' quarters and the military hospital between the two.

 

 

By 1916 there were over 2,000 men stationed at this camp. They were divided into ten squadrons, each squadron containing about 40 'rough riders', who broke in young horses, a farrier sergeant, shoeing smiths and saddlers. As the war progressed, it became increasingly difficult to find suitable men for these trades, especially as many men were medically upgraded as fit to fight at the front.

Logistics

There were often more than 4,000 horses and mules in the care of the ten squadrons at Romsey. Starting with the arrival of just two horses in March 1915, as many as 830 horses might be received in a day. The length of stay was probably about a month, either for training or recuperation. At the outbreak of war the British Army possessed 19,000 horses and by the end had purchased another 468,000 in the UK and 688,000 from North America.

 

In Romsey the horses from distant parts arrived by train; in the up-side goods yard two sidings were laid down with a horse dock. The horses were then walked through the town to the camp, one man to three horses. A steady stream of horses walked from Romsey to Southampton Docks. In March 1917, 1,200 Romsey horses were embarked from Southampton in three days, and another 1,000 in the following week.

 

Helping to pay its way

Other aspects of the camp included the cultivation of some 40 acres of potatoes, and the saving of old horse-shoes, horse hair, hoof parings, jam jars, old wire and string - all sold to raise money for the camp. The sale of manure raised £4,000 from 1916 to 1918. On the social side the Depot Band became a well known feature of life in the town.

 

In February 1920 480 huts and 68 horse shelters were advertised for sale at the Remount Camp. Hard core from the site was used in the establishment of the Town Memorial Park. Walking along the old road now from Cutters Barn through to Ridge Farm there is absolutely no indication of the 2,000 men and 5,000 horses that once filled the acres round about.

 

Article from LTVAS Group Newsletter

Pat Genge   July 1999

LTVAS Book Romsey Remount
Further Reading

Further Reading:

Basil Clarke, 'The Story of the British War-Horse from Prairie to Battlefield' in The Great War - The Standard History of All Europe Conflict Vol 9, (amalgamated Press Ltd, 1917) 

This is a contemporary description of the management of horses up to 1917.  It gives useful detail on the detailed arrangements that had to be made to acquire, manage and transport horses and mules for the war effort.

 

Colonel R. Hume, 'The Army Remount Service - Part Two',

This was published in Clarion Calling, the magazine of The Royal Army Veterinary Corps. Although I have a copy of this article, I cannot find when it was published.  It is an excellent piece and contains much about the management of horses and mules for military purposes.

 

Colonel Sir H.M. Jessel, The Story of the Romsey Remount Depot (The Abbey Press, 1920)

Colonel Jessel was the commandant of the Romsey Remount Depot for most of its existence.  This is his account of its history and makes fascinating reading.  It contains pictures and the map used elsewhere in this website is also included in his volume.

Horses for the War, The story of the World War I Remount Depot at Lathom Park, Lathom Lancashire, (Lathom Park Trust Limited, 2012)

 

This account of the Remount Depot at Lathom, Lancashire, is a study of the establishment there.  It is interesting to compare what is known about that camp with the surviving records of Romsey.  It is well presented with good illustrations.

Marjorie Edwards, Figures in a landscape: Lional Edwards: a sporting artist and his family (London, Regency Press, c.1986)

Lionel Edwards was one of the twentieth century's leading painters of horses. During World War I, he was stationed at Romsey Remount Depot and a number of his paintings are reproduced in Colonel Jessel's book.  Examples of his work are also to be found by searching the web.  This book is written by his daughter, Marjorie.

 

Captain Sidney Galtrey, 'The Horse and War' in Country Life, (1918)

This article describes the work of the Remount Service in the war and is particularly interesting for its description of the purchase of horses in North America.

 

Will H. Ogilvie, Galloping Shoes (Constable and Company Ltd, 1922)

This volume of poems includes (on page 51) 'The Remount Train' whose subject is horses going to war by train.

 

Richard St Barbe Baker, Horse Sense: Horses in War and Peace  (London, Stanley Paul, 1962)

This autobiography includes a chapter about the author's time in the Remount Service in Swaythling and then in London in the First World War.  Richard St Barbe Baker was born at West End, near Southampton, and became internationally famous as a forester.

The Town Hall Basement, 1 Market Place, Romsey, Hants. SO51 8YZ 

Romsey Local History Society
is part of the LTVAS Group
 (The Lower Test Valley Archaeological Study Group).
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