Today’s post is on behalf of the Blue Cross For Pets Charity who commissioned me to photograph a fundraising event at the Great War Weekend, held at Bateman’s in Burwash, East Sussex.BC-SH-Batemans023
I have to admit, until the charity contacted me and while I had heard of them, I didn’t realise the historic importance they held in respect of the First World War. As I always do when commissioned by anyone to photograph an event, I did a little background research which in this case wasn’t difficult as they have a very informative web site.
BC-SH-Batemans236The charity was founded in 1897 as Our Dumb Friends League, it was renamed Blue Cross due to its valuable work helping animals in both world wars. On the battlefields of Europe a Blue Cross flag  was used for animals whilst the Red Cross was used for injured men. It also identified animal ambulances and vital medical supplies that were sent to the front lines.
The sad thing is that it is estimated eight million horses and donkeys died in the First World War while carrying ammunition and supplies to the frontline, dogs were also used to help soldiers on the battlefields to run messages, detect mines and act as patrol dogs among many other tasks.BC-SH-Batemans244
So it is very fitting that this weekend has seen Andy Snerdon and team of Skinners Horse fundraising for the charity on their ‘From the sea to the Somme’ trip to mark the centenary of the start of WWI. They have spent the weekend at Batemans raising last minute funds by taking part in the reenactments and demonstrating what it was like to be a soldier on horseback 100 years ago.BC-SH-Batemans061
This is where I came in, I went along to photograph Andy and team for the charity producing a set of photographs that they can use for publicity and record shots. I have to say, it made myself along with many others who were there, realise what it was like to be at war all that time ago, how the men had to live, the lives lost and of course that thought in my head of how many animals lost their lives too in the call of duty. However, being there on a sunny Sunday in the beautiful setting of Bateman’s also made me appreciate what that generation had fought for and how lucky we are to have what we have today.