This is Matt Gauldie’s famous 2010 rendition of the charge of the Otago Mounted Rifles at Messine Ridge on the afternoon of 7th June 1917 when elements of the II Anzac Mounted Regiment were ordered to attack a snipers nest.
The troopers were quickly targeted by German gunners and the patrol soon became a charge, over barbed wire, trenches and shell holes. To the watching infantry it must have seemed an apparition of the old style of warmaking from the days before machine guns and mass artillery drove warfare underground – the Charge of the Light Brigade revisited. The troopers charged the snipers, captured guns and took nine prisoners, and moved on to provide useful reconnaissance of the Germans pulling back to consolidate their position having lost the ridge. Inevitably the horses bore the brunt of the casualties one trooper recalling being caught by machine gun fire and his horse killed under him, hit in the head and the neck.
“I was very sad over the loss of my mare Mary. She was presented to us back in 1914 by the ladies of Dunedin.”by