In the First World War 136,000 horses were sent overseas by the Australian Imperial Force (AIF). Only one horse made it home to Australia… His name was SANDY.
Sandy was a bay gelding who stood at 16 hands high. He belonged to Major General Sir William Throsby Bridges. Gentle in his temperament, Sandy was the Major's favourite steed. Sandy was one of 6,100 horses sent by ship to Gallipoli - but he never made it ashore as there was limited room on the crowded beachhead.
On May 5, 1915 Lieutenant General Sir William Birdwood sought approval to send the horses back to Alexandria, Egypt.
On May 15, Major General Bridges was shot in battle at Gallipoli, he died three days later on a hospital ship.
It was his dying wish for Sandy to be safely returned to Duntroon, Canberra.
Under the care of Captain Leslie Whitfield from August 1, 1915 Sandy was transferred from Egypt to Calais, France in March 1916.
Calls were made by the Minister of Defence for Sandy to return home.
He was sent from Calais to Swaythling, England at War's end in September 1918.
Sandy boarded the freighter Booral and travelled from Liverpool to Melbourne.
He lived out his days at the Central Remount Depot in Maribyrnong.
Sandy was put down in May 1923 due to blindness.
Bridges was the only identified Australian soldier who died in WW1 to be returned to Australia. In 2015, a racehorse in Canberra, Australia was named after Sandy.
This story serves as a reminder of the sacrifices made by soldiers and their brave compatriots in war.
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