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An Inspiring Story of a War Horse
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An Inspiring Story of a War Horse

Martin Laurie is not a famous writer. He used to be a farmer in Essex; however, he recently published a sensational book, Cupid’s War. Cupid was a horse who lived in the first quarter of twentieth century and had traveled from England to France and, from there, all the way to Lebanon, Egypt and Palestine. The bay mare was enlisted in the British Army and had fought along with her masters, father and son (Lt. Colonel Ranald Laurie and Second Lieutenant Vernon Laurie), at different fronts during the First World War. Cupid’s War tells an inspiring story of a war horse who demonstrated incredible courage, intensive hard work, and tremendous sacrifice.

Cupid was a birthday present to Vernon from his father in 1911 who roamed around hunting with her master near their farm in Essex for three years. When the war broke out in 1914, she was enlisted in the army along with other family horses and had served with integrity for more than four years. From the coast of England, Cupid traveled to the country side of France; she had witnessed horrible consequences of the conflict no less than a soldier would have at the time. She passed through difficult terrain, sometimes carrying men on her back and sometimes dragging war equipment. Her loyalty was never compromised for a moment.

The First World war wasn’t fought in a way today’s wars are being fought with sophisticated weapons and technologically advanced equipment along with modern fleet of vehicles. Millions of horses were deployed on both sides for carrying soldiers, armaments and supplies. Their presence and services were no less valuable than those of the soldiers. Cupid, like all other war horses, was trained and nursed by the men and was fortunate enough to escape the horrible European battleground as the Lauries and their 131 horses were sent to Egypt in January 1916. Unfortunately several of the horses passed away during that terrible journey but Cupid survived.

Martin Laurie narrates Cupid’s story in his book that he accumulated from diary entries, priceless photographs, and letters sent to and from her owner. The horse’s days in the Middle Eastern battlefields were filled with odds and danger, oppressively hot and dry weather, insects infected diseases and fearful gunfire. Some of the horses had their noses burnt, and the men applied lotion for healing the burns. To prevent Cupid from being plagued by flies, her master provided her a custom made fly fringe. Along with her fellow horses and the soldiers, she took part in a major battle in Gaza during March 1917.

The war ended on November 11, 1918 and the men rejoiced in celebration while the horses roamed freely. The army units with horses had to continue their stay in Lebanon; the men knew they would come back home but the horses didn’t. Finally, in February of 1919, the government decided that the war horses wouldn’t be brought back. Cupid was torn by the battles and was seriously injured. Lt. Colonel Ranald Laurie had no better choice other than to shoot her to end her sufferings. To cherish the war hero’s memory for days to come, her shoes were cleaned and sent to the Lauries’ residence to become a distinct brass door stop; till today, it is hanging in there.

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