Blackie’s grave has been granted heritage protection in England. His is the first war horse grave to be so honored and one of more than 1000 historical sites given protection in 2017. An estimated 8 million horses died in WW1 either killed during battle, or the effects of disease and starvation.
Blackie served with the 275th Brigade Royal Field Artillery ‘A’ Batter – 55th West Lancashire Division. He saw most major battles including Arras, the Somme Offensive and Ypres. He belonged to Lieutenant Leonard Comer Wall, a war poet, who in his will requested that if he did not survive the conflict, his faithful horse should be buried with his medals and decorations. Lieutenant Wall died at Ypres in June 1917 aged 20, and was riding Blackie at the time. Despite the horse’s injuries from the same incident, Blackie remained in service on the Western front for the rest of the war.
After the war Lieutenant Wall’s mother Kate brought Blackie back to England, making him one of only a small number of horses to return home. She lent him to the Territorial Riding School in Liverpool until he was retired to live at the Horses’ Rest in Halewood in 1930, where he remained until his death at the age of 37, in December 1942.
Blackie’s death received press coverage across Britain, from the local Liverpool Daily Post to the Gloucester Citizen, Portsmouth Evening News, and Dundee Evening Telegraph.
“It’s been 100 years since the end of the First World War. Recognition of the part horses played had been long overdue. This war horse grave will go some way to redress the balance,” said chief executive Alan Carr.
Historic England said although there are other war horse graves in England, it had no plans to recognize any others at present. Blackie is buried in the north-west corner of the western field fronting Higher Road in Halewood.